While people have the right to distribute their property to anyone they wish, there are situations where someone close to your ailing relative may take advantage of their position. For example, a caregiver may convince an elderly person to write them into the person’s will, pressuring the patient or even threatening to withhold care unless they inherit. These actions are called fraudulent transfers, and family members have the right to go to court to resolve the matter.
What to Do If You Suspect a Fraudulent Transfer of Assets
A fraudulent transfer involves any gift of assets from an estate that was obtained by undue influence over a vulnerable person. Assets can be cash gifts, jewelry, valuables, bank account balances, or even real estate. These transfers are illegal and can cause significant emotional stress, particularly when the transfer involves another family member.
A gift could be fraudulent if it:
- Was transferred during a time when your loved one was in a weakened physical or mental condition
- Was made during the last months, weeks, or days of the deceased person’s life
- Benefits (or was orchestrated by) a caregiver, relative, or some other individual who was not previously acknowledged or provided for by the deceased
- Was not known by other heirs, relatives, or friends
- Seems out of character for your loved one
- Caused your unexpected disinheritance
Beneficiaries only have a limited time to file a legal action or contest a will. After the time limit to challenge has expired, fraudulently transferred assets may legally belong to someone else—making it much more difficult for you and your family to reclaim what is yours. Our experienced New York estate litigation lawyers can help you determine whether there is a valid cause to object to the terms of a loved one’s will and file before the statute of limitations expires. Contact Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group today through our online form to learn how we can help.