Fraudulent wills are of great concern, not only for testators planning their estates and their legacies, but for beneficiaries, trustees, and executors as well. If you want to ensure the validity of your will or are troubled by dealing with another party’s will that is or may be fraudulent, you need the help of a highly skilled and experienced estate planning attorney. If you reside in Virginia, Randall J. Borden, Attorney at Law, is the accomplished professional to call. 

With a 30-year history of providing clients with successful legal counsel, he will tune in to the details of your circumstances, clarify your options, and work tirelessly to protect your best interests. Contact our office for the information you need and the personal attention you deserve.

What Is Will Fraud?

Will fraud occurs when a will is created or altered through deceit?  Fraudulent means of creating a will include:


Forgery involves the creation of a will or alteration of an existing will without the knowledge or consent of the person making the will (the testator). Forgery occurs when someone fakes the testator’s signature or alters their will’s contents to benefit themselves or another party. Expert handwriting analysis and forensic evidence are typically necessary to prove that forgery has taken place.

Undue Influence

Undue influence occurs when the testator is manipulated or coerced into drafting the will to benefit either the influencer or someone else. To establish that undue influence has taken place, it must be demonstrated that the testator’s free will was compromised by financial, physical, or emotional threats, persuasions, or other kinds of dominance.

Lack of Capacity

Lack of capacity may make the testator considerably more vulnerable to coercion. Disorientation, confusion, failing memory, or psychological frailty may make a testator with dementia, mental challenges, or psychiatric illness far more prone to being prodded into creating or amending their will according to the fraudulent party’s directives. Medical, psychiatric, and therapeutic records and expert testimony are essential to proving a lack of capacity.

Fraudulent Inducement occurs when the testator is misled or fed false information, leading them to make decisions they wouldn’t have made if they knew the truth. In some cases, the testator may be misled or deceived into modifying their will. Proving fraudulent inducement entails demonstrating that the testator was deceived or provided with false information that led them to make changes to their will.

How Will Fraud Is Proven

Strong legal representation is necessary to prove that a will is fraudulent. Methods of providing evidence of fraud in a will include: 

  1. Documentation

Gathering relevant documents such as:

  • Previous versions or drafts of the will
  • Correspondence related to the will’s creation or modification
  • Documents or recordings revealing the interactions and nature of the relationship between the testator and alleged influencer that indicate deception or undue influence
  1. Witnesses

Presenting eyewitnesses who were present during the will’s creation or amendment can provide critical testimony regarding the testator’s mental capacity and any signs of undue influence or fraud.

  1. Expert Testimony

Presenting expert witness testimony by psychiatrists, neurologists, psychologists, and/or forensic document examiners who can offer reliable, informed opinions that support claims of fraud, forgery, undue influence, or lack of capacity. Also presenting convincing testimony by professional handwriting analysts to substantiate forgery claims.

Proving Will Fraud in Virginia

In Virginia, the challenge to a fraudulent will in most instances must be initiated within a year after probate and Virginia law requires clear and convincing evidence to prove fraud.

The Major Role Your Attorney Will Play in the Process

When it comes to dealing with preparing a will impervious to accusations of fraudulence or dealing with disputes about a will’s alleged fraudulence, it is vital to have an experienced estate planning attorney at your side whether you are:

  • The testator, in which case your lawyer will make certain your will is legally binding and reflects your true intentions, safeguarding it against accusations of fraud when you pass.
  • A beneficiary challenging a fraudulent will, in which case your lawyer will assist you in navigating the complex process of challenging a will, from gathering evidence to understanding state-specific intricacies.
  • A beneficiary defending the validity of a will, in which case your attorney can help you by gathering and forcefully presenting evidence to counter claims of will fraud and defend the validity of the will and the legitimacy of your inheritance. 
  • A trustee named in the will as personal representative (executor), in which case your knowledgeable attorney will provide you with the sage legal advice essential to understanding your rights and responsibilities and explain precisely what steps should be taken — depending on whether you suspect or face accusations of fraud.

Contact Our Experienced Fairfax Will Fraud Attorney

Fraud in a will can have far-reaching consequences, affecting the distribution of an estate and the rights of all parties involved. Working with a lawyer who understands the nuances of will fraud in both Virginia, along with the evidence required to prove or dispute such claims, is crucial. 

Once you become a client of Randall Borden, you will experience the reassurance that comes from connecting with a steadfast professional. Attorney Borden has the refined legal and logistical skills to help you navigate any problem related to challenging, or avoiding a challenge, to a will that will have a serious impact on your life and the life of those close to you. Contact our Fairfax office today.