What is the evidence of forgery

Original or fake? - The forged will

Recognize fake wills and act correctly

It can be assumed that a certain number of handwritten wills are forged. Because often enough the succession attested by the testator is perceived as unjust, be it because others have been appointed as beneficiaries or because the testator limited himself to the legal succession and did not draw up a will.

Inheritance sneaks then occasionally come up with the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčintervening in the succession themselves by means of a forged will. An inheritance dispute over a possibly forged will is complicated and burdensome. Emotions regularly boil. We are happy to assist you with our competence and experience.

Your right - our services

Our lawyers, specialist lawyers and specialists in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich advise and represent you in all matters relating to the authenticity of wills and the creation of heirs:

  1. Examination of wills and their establishment
  2. Representation in inheritance proceedings before the probate court or in the inheritance determination process before the civil court
  3. Own investigations into the authenticity of the will

For a non-binding inquiry, please contact one of our contact persons directly by phone or email or use the contact form at the end of this page.

Questions and answers about the forged will

What can I do if I suspect a will is forged?

Everyone who is in possession of a will is obliged to submit it to the competent probate court in the event of inheritance. The court will then open the will and send it to those affected. The objection that the opened will is a forgery is usually brought before the probate court as part of the certificate of inheritance proceedings. Anyone who would benefit from the discontinuation of the controversial will because it was considered in another disposition or is a legal heir will object to the application of the testamentary heir for a certificate of inheritance and / or apply for a certificate of inheritance himself.

I have raised concerns about the authenticity of a will in the probate court, what then?

As long as the probate court has no evidence of the forgery of a will, it will generally assume the authenticity of the will and issue the requested certificate of inheritance. It is different, however, when contradictions or even allegations of falsification are raised. The court then has to determine the authenticity of the will ex officio.

Who bears the burden of proof?

It is the person who invokes the authenticity of the will who also bears the burden of proof. It is up to him to convince the court of the authenticity of the written down and the signature of the testator. If the latter does not succeed in removing the probate court's doubts about the authenticity of the will, the will will be declared invalid.

What are the legal consequences of a forged will?

A forgery has consequences, not only for the will: The forgery of a will can also make the forger unworthy of inheritance, which, for example, affects the succession if one of several legal heirs acts as the sole heir through a forgery. If the forgery is discovered, he may not only lose his position as sole heir, but also go completely empty-handed.

Everything at a glance - when you know where to look

Even if the court is to take all steps to clarify the question of the authenticity of a will on its own initiative, the involvement of a lawyer who knows the legal situation and can initiate his own investigations is regularly required. In practice, forged wills are exclusively handwritten wills drawn up by hand. Original wills can also be ineffective, e.g. if the testator is manipulated, deceived or threatened by others when they are drawn up, was unable to testify due to dementia or other mental illness or did not comply with the prescribed form.

Therefore, of course, we check all other objections to the validity of wills, in particular defects of form, errors, unauthorized influence, inability to testify, etc. You can find a detailed overview of the options for contesting or defending wills here: Avoiding wills

This is how one differentiates between original and fake

In our experience, important points when differentiating between an original and a fake are:

  • Handwriting expert opinion: The expert is chosen by the court and not by the parties. For the preparation of such a written report or graphological report, an expert is usually provided with the original will as well as the testator's written samples, which undoubtedly originate from him and are close to the will. However, the parties are also free to have their own party opinion or counter-opinion drawn up, which must also be taken into account by the probate court.
  • Witnesses in the making of the will: The will is not always written in a "quiet little room". If witnesses were present at the time the will was drawn up, their testimony may be of importance for checking the authenticity of the will in question.
  • Statements of the testator in connection with the drawing up of the will: Not only statements about whether and how the will is drawn up can be informative for the question of the authenticity of a will, but statements by the testator about his beneficiary intentions or about those persons he would like to exclude from his property are required by the probate court to assess the authenticity of a will To use will.
  • Previous wills: They can provide clues for the will of the testator but also for the authenticity of the will in question. For example, if the earlier wills were always detailed and drawn up according to a certain pattern, then doubts can arise about a new will which, without any explanation, now has a completely different representation that was free to the testator.
  • Other circumstances: a broken arm of the testator at the time of drawing up the will, for example, can raise the legitimate question of whether the testator was actually able to draw up the will by hand using his usual script.

Incidentally, falsifying wills is only one of the means that inheritance sneaks use today to obtain an inheritance grant. More information about dishonest heirs can be found here: Inheritance sneaking