What is Inheritance Theft?

The Gormley Law Office is pleased to share this information on estate litigation! If you need help with a will, trust, or probate matter, call us or use the Contact feature at the bottom of this web page. We’re here to help!

Inheritance theft is essentially just as it sounds: your inheritance is stolen by someone else through dubious means. There are several ways this can happen:

  • Undue influence by someone close to your parent or family member;
  • Someone lies, threatens, manipulates, isolates your family member to coerce them to make transfers or bequests of property, cash or other items; and
  • Someone forges your family member’s name to transfer assets or property.

Inheritance theft may also result in the family member’s loss of assets needed for day to day expenses, such as food and housing.

It’s not necessarily true that outsiders are the only persons who attempt to steal from the family member. Many times, it is other family members who may attempt to steal from a parent or family member. Inheritance theft can also be committed by fiduciaries, such as personal representatives, guardians, trustees and conservators.

Sometimes, elderly people will give away valuables to people who help them on a regular basis. An opportunistic person will often take advantage of this time in order to influence the person to transfer assets to them, potentially leaving other heirs without any inheritance.

It’s important to prevent this from happening to your parents or loved ones, because often, once these transfers are made, they aren’t easily reversed and can happen quickly. Property that was intended to remain in the family can be stolen without your knowledge, especially if you don’t live nearby and don’t see your parents often.

In our next article, we’ll talk about steps you can take to prevent inheritance theft from happening in your family. The Gormley Law Office can help you prevent inheritance theft with proper estate planning and other strategies for ensuring your loved ones aren’t being taken advantage of in their senior years.

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Probate, Estate Planning and Real Estate Attorney
Brian Gormley, Esq. is an attorney licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia specializing in real estate, probate, estate litigation and other matters. If you need assistance, please use the Contact Feature at the bottom of this page.
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