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Forged Estate Planning Docs: A Cautionary Tale

ForgeriesA Brooklyn woman scammed $300,000 from her friends by telling them she had inherited a boatload of cash but needed their dough to pay off the estate’s taxes and liens, prosecutors said Tuesday.

You may have heard of inheritance scams before, but this one is slightly different.  Normally a scammer pretends to be an attorney or estate agent. They tell a potential victim that the victim has inherited a large fortune from an estranged or long lost relative. However, before the victim can get the inheritance, the scammer claims that the victim must cough up large sums of money to pay off taxes or other debts that the estate holds.

A woman in Brooklyn is alleged to have turned this standard inheritance scam around.   She forged bank documents to make it look like she had received an inheritance for $13 million in cash. She then went to her friends and convinced some of them that to get the cash she needed money to pay the estate's taxes and debts.   She is alleged to have conned $300,000 from up to ten people.

The New York Post has more on the story in a recent article titled "Woman busted in $300K inheritance scam: DA."  Avoiding inheritance scams is easy.  If someone you do not know asks for money concerning an inheritance, especially if it seems too good to be true, consult with an estate attorney before spending any money.  If the person objects to you receiving the advice of an attorney, run away!   No legitimate estate administrator would object to an attorney being consulted.   In this particular case, the attorney would have told the victims that any taxes or other debts could have been paid out of the cash in the estate, if in fact the inheritance were real.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.  Why not call us for a complimentary consultation at 757-259-0707.

Reference: New York Post (April 14, 2015) "Woman busted in $300K inheritance scam: DA."

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