Are Relatives Stealing Your Inheritance?

  • April 9, 2024
  • 2 min read

The Growing Issue of Probate and Family Law Fraud

  • The Current Landscape
    Okay, this is very good advice from The Wall Street Journal: hash out the inheritance now or fight with your family later. We are seeing so many cases of probate fraud and family law fraud; it’s unbelievable what’s happening. It’s a money grab, a cash grab.
  • Generational financial dynamics
    People in the younger generations have not had the same financial success as even their parents or grandparents. Even those just one layer above them have had a different economic experience in the last 20 years.
  • The Impact of Economic Events
    We had the housing crash in 2008, a pandemic, and other recessionary pressures. These have affected financial stability and opportunities for wealth accumulation.
  • Seeking Inheritance
    Younger generations often eye the assets of their grandparents, especially if they are boomers. Houses, 401ks, and other assets become targets for those seeking financial stability.

The Importance of Early Planning

  • Complex family structures
    Blended families, divorces, remarriages, and stepchildren create ambiguity about inheritance. When an older family member becomes ill or passes away, disputes over assets can quickly escalate.
  • Early estate planning recommendations
    Start the process early to mitigate conflicts. Ensure those handling the estate are bonded and accountable. Avoid situations where an executor can act without consequence. Document everything and provide regular reports on assets.
  • Family Strains and Financial Desperation
    Financial struggles can drive some family members to extreme measures. Sibling relationships and family harmony can be jeopardized by the desire for a larger share of the estate.
  • Unethical Practices
    Some resort to unethical means to secure a larger inheritance. This includes forging checks, altering wills, or manipulating elderly family members into changing their estate plans.

Preserving family harmony and respect

  • Upholding Family Wishes
    Respect the wishes and honor of those who have accumulated wealth. Preventing financial manipulation ensures family harmony and goodwill are maintained.
  • Avoiding Artificial Diversion of Wealth
    Resist the temptation to artificially divert assets that do not belong to you. Honor the intentions of grandparents and parents by maintaining integrity in handling inheritances.
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