While many people may find the idea of planning for their untimely demise off putting, pre-planning can be very beneficial. Creating wills can better ensure that a person's wishes are carried out after their death, especially when it comes to the distribution of assets. When a will is not made, there can be much disagreement about who is entitled to what. It is also important to determine the authenticity of a will as there have been cases of wills that were forged in order for certain people to obtain certain property.
New Jersey residents may be interested in the case of a woman in a neighboring state having forged a will in order to gain possession of an elderly neighbor's house. According to reports, the elderly woman fell down some stairs at her home, and while she was in the hospital, a neighbor created a will and claimed to be the woman's niece. This will gave the neighbor the right to stop medical care and gave her access to the elderly woman's bank account.
After the woman's death, the neighbor came in possession of the house and began renting it to other residents. One renter became suspicious, however, when other neighbors began questioning how the woman came to be in possession of the home. He also noticed articles of clothing still in the home as well as mail continuing to arrive in the name of the deceased. The woman in possession of the house evicted the renter when he began asking questions about the ownership of the house. An investigation began into the ownership of the house, and it was found that the owner had forged several documents that put the house in her possession.
Such a situation can hardly seem fathomable, but it is an unfortunate reality that events like this do occur. People sometimes go to great lengths to have the distribution of assets handled in a certain way, even if that person hardly knows the deceased. Preparing living wills and other official documents and having people informed about those documents could potentially prevent such a situation from occurring. Information on New Jersey estate laws could be beneficial to someone who may be looking to make preparations.
Source: New Jersey Herald, "DA: Pa. woman forging neighbor's will, stole house," Joe Mandak, Aug. 2, 2013