The Hughes Law Firm

We have office locations in Arvada, Broomfield, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, Lakewood and Denver

How To Avoid Inheritance Theft In Colorado

  • On behalf of: The Hughes Law Firm, P.C.
  • Published: November 30, 2017

What Is Inheritance Theft?

Inheritance theft is something that can happen right under your nose. You may have been told time and again that you’re going to inherit something only to find out that when your parent, grandparent or other relative dies that whatever you were promised is gone or the bank accounts are nearly emptied.

Common Examples Of Inheritance Theft

Inheritance theft is a situation where individuals unlawfully divert assets that were meant to go to beneficiaries. A few of the biggest examples where inheritance theft can occur include:

Coercion or Threat – A common example of inheritance theft is the hijacking of the inheritence by the use of coercive or threatening tactics. Here, the individual may resort to intimidation, forcing the holder of a will to make changes that go against their genuine wishes. This is also known as “undue influence”.

Forgery or Fraud – In certain cases, inheritance theft takes the form of forgery or fraud. Individuals may go to great lengths to deceive the courts and authorities by way of forging signatures, manipulating legal documents, or other creative fraudulent activities.

Asset Misappropriation – Inheritance theft can also manifest as ass misappropriation. This occurs when someone gains unauthorized access to the deceased assets and misuses them for personal gain. This may constitute the theft of an inheritance that should rightfully be passed on to the intended beneficiaries.

Understanding these possible scenarios should be helpful in recognizing the basic signs of inheritance theft and taking appropriate legal action. Consulting an experienced inheritance theft litigation attorney can be crucial in these complex legal situations.

Is Inheritance Theft The Same As Inheritance Hijacking?

While inheritance theft and inheritance hijacking share similarities, they are actually not interchangeable terms. Inheritance theft specifically refers to the unlawful acquisition of assets that were meant for beneficiaries. This can be achieved through deceptive tactics, including forgery or undue influence.

On the other hand, inheritance hijacking is a broader term encompassing various actions related to inheritance disputes in general. Inheritance disputes are conflicts that may arise during the distribution process. These may include legal battles, manipulation, or any actions aimed at seizing or controlling an inheritance.

Essentially, inheritance theft is a specific type of inheritance hijacking. Regardless of the situation, consulting an inheritance theft litigation attorney with experience in inheritance dispute law is advisable to protect your rights and navigate the complexities of these issues.

If you have reason to suspect inheritance theft, seek legal counsel from experienced inheritance dispute lawyers. They can provide guidance on how to protect your rights, help you gather evidence, and explain your options.

Signs Your Inheritance Is Being Stolen

Alternately, you may find that there’s been a sudden change in the will — a new one executed only a few months before your relative’s death — that leaves everything to someone else. Sometimes that “someone else” wasn’t around much until lately — but stepped in as soon as your relative’s health or cognitive abilities began to fail.

Top 5 Ways To Protect Yourself From Inheritance Theft

Here are the best ways to prevent your relative from falling victim to someone’s greed and to keep yourself from being the victim of inheritance theft:

1. Stay Involved With The Finances.

Particularly as a loved one ages, you may have to get comfortable asking questions you wouldn’t have asked when that person was younger. He or she may be relieved to allow you to help with the bills or perfectly willing to discuss finances with you. However, your family member may be resistant. You need to persevere, however, to make certain that no one is taking advantage of them.

2. Visit Often.

That’s the best possible way to make certain that valuable items, like expensive jewelry, firearms, antiques, and art, aren’t disappearing. A senior may suddenly start giving away gifts without much thought of whom they’ve been promised. Someone may simply walk off with them if the senior is suffering from any form of dementia.

3. Consider Taking Control.

While it’s a difficult thing to do if your elderly relative is becoming increasingly incapacitated — physically or mentally — you may need to get an attorney and ask the court to appoint you his or her guardian. That may be the best way to protect both your relative’s safety and his or her bank accounts. It will also prevent a new will from being made once he or she has been declared incompetent.

4. Maintain A Detailed Inventory.

Keeping a comprehensive inventory of your loved one’s assets is a practical preventive measure. Document valuable possessions, financial accounts, and important documents. Include photographs, descriptions, and locations of assets. This inventory serves as valuable evidence in case of inheritance disputes or theft allegations.

5. Educate Your Loved Ones

Empower your elderly relatives with knowledge about inheritance theft and financial exploitation. Encourage them to be cautious when making financial decisions, especially when approached by individuals offering unsolicited financial services. Above all else, ensure they understand the importance of not sharing personal or financial information with strangers. By educating them about potential risks, you empower them to protect themselves and their assets.

Inheritance theft doesn’t have to happen, but it requires getting involved and staying involved in order to make certain that your relative isn’t being manipulated by someone’s greed.

The Hughes Law Firm

We strive to give our clients the best of all possible worlds:
the experience of the past, the best of today and continued
solutions into the future. Schedule A Free Consultation