Fraudulent Wills

Fraudulent Wills

7 months ago 0 326

In this interesting case the applicant was not happy with what he was receiving in a will and tried to dupe the court with a fraudulent one.

In Farrell v Boston [2016] QSC 278 probate had been granted in regards a 2007 Will of the late Mrs Farrell. It was contended by her brother-in-law that that the grant of probate should be set aside due to a mistake of fact; the mistake being not having regard the more recent Will he had, dated 2013. If were to be shown that probate was granted due to a mistake of fact, a Court has the power to revoke the grant of probate: Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) r 642(1)(a)(iii).

The applicant also claimed that the 2007 Will had not been executed by Mrs Farrell, but by an imposter claiming to be her who was falsely identified by the witnesses. The applicant’s submissions regarding the use of an imposter was not accepted by the court because there was “absolutely no evidence to support [his] extraordinary claim”.

The court examined and took into account a prior will of Mrs Farrell executed in 1984, the validity of which was not challenged. The contents and signature of Mrs Farrell’s prior will were compared with the 2007 and 2013 documents. The signature and contents of the 2007 will were consistent with her prior will. The 2013 will, however, ‘represents a completely different disposition’, entirely made to members of her late husband’s family. Although the handwriting was broadly similar, the signature was not consistent with Mrs Farrells prior will and was ‘considerably shakier’.

Ultimately, no mistake of fact was found and the application was dismissed ‘in the absence of any evidence of anything untoward in the making of the 2007 will and the failure to authenticate the 2013 document or establish its validity’. In summary, the court with assistance of Solicitors looked carefully into the spurious claims and rejected them for what they were.