Every adult should have an estate plan in place. At minimum you should execute the appropriate advance health care directives while you record your final wishes regarding the distribution of your property in a last will.
If you were to die without a will the probate court would determine your rightful heir or heirs utilizing intestate succession rules. The outcome may or may not be consistent with what you would have wanted, and it could take a considerable amount of time for the court to sort everything out.
Another thing to consider if you don’t properly execute and store a last will is the possibility of someone creating one for you.
With the above in mind there is a case underway in the state of Tennessee that is instructive. A Tracy City man has been indicted, and he is faced with charges of forgery, criminal conspiracy to commit theft in excess of $250,000, and passing a forged instrument.
This individual, 47-year-old James E Campbell II, allegedly forged a last will that was attributed to his deceased father.
Two others were allegedly witnesses to the signing and they are being charged with conspiracy.
The deceased senior Campbell left behind a significant other, and she suspected that something was amiss and alerted authorities.
Admittedly, will forgery cases are relatively rare. But at the same time you never know what could happen after you pass away. The wise course of action is to leave nothing to chance by taking the time to formally execute an estate plan with the assistance of a licensed estate planning lawyer.
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