How to Recover Stolen Inheritance?

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“How to Recover Stolen Inheritance? A loved one’s inheritance can provide comfort when you mourn them, but what happens when it goes missing? Losing an inheritance can leave you vulnerable and helpless, leaving you feeling overwhelmed.”

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How to Recover Stolen Inheritance?

There are many types of inheritance theft, ranging from simple property theft to complex financial fraud. It is common for inheritance thieves to steal property or money, forge wills or other legal documents, and coerce or manipulate testators to change their wills or estate plans. Here are the steps about how to recover stolen inheritance.


Do I Have Any Rights If Someone Cheated on My Inheritance Against Me?

The first thing you should do if you are cheating out of your inheritance is consult with an experienced estate attorney. Disputes over inheritances can be complex, and legal representation is vital for protecting your interests.

Despite this, you can increase your chances of recovering your stolen inheritance by taking extra steps. Maintaining a written record of conversations with the person who stole your inheritance and keeping records of all conversations with that individual is essential. It is also advisable to communicate via email.

Even if you require clarification regarding the individual responsible for taking the item, offering any details you possess about dates, times, and any suspicious or unusual behavior during the theft’s timeframe can still be beneficial.

If you can prove with evidence that your inheritance rightfully belongs to you, you can get your inheritance back from the individual who took it. In some cases, if the individual refuses to return your inheritance, you may have to bring your case to court.


Inheritance Theft: What Is It?

Two ways to convey inheritance are through a will or a trust. In the case of a will, assets go to the heirs; in the case of a trust, assets go to the named beneficiary. An executor must have certain powers vulnerable to abuse to administer a trust.

The most common type of inheritance theft involves a will executor or trust trustee. It can take the following forms:

  • Taking assets from a deceased person’s estate without reporting them
  • Inappropriate use or benefit of trust assets by trustees
  • Taking excessive fees from executors and trustees
  • Diverting assets with the help of a power of attorney

Another possibility is that a family member or friend may misuse an inheritance by misdirecting assets in your name. This might happen because:

  • A will or trust is changed by coercion or undue influence
  • Documents such as wills, trusts, property titles, and deeds that are fraudulent or forged
  • Asset theft, including cash, jewelry, art, and other valuables
  • There is no way to recoup money from undocumented loans
  • Financial accounts are accessible

Your situation’s specific facts will dictate the best way to challenge a trust amendment that leaves all assets to a caretaker or an adult child at the expense of the other adult children.


Inheritance: How Do You Fight For It?

To fight for your inheritance, you must first understand the circumstances of its loss. A will contest in probate court involves challenging a will’s validity. However, it must be supported by specific grounds. There are several reasons why a will might be contested, including:

  • Undue Influence — the act of convincing someone to change their will when they otherwise wouldn’t have transformed it is known as undue influence.
  • Duress — When someone threatens to harm the testator physically to coerce them into changing their will, duress occurs
  • Fraud happens when someone tricked the testator into signing an updated will by claiming it was another document or the testator believed something untrue.
  • Forgery — Fraud occurs when a will, witness signature, or testator’s signature is false.
  • Lack of Testamentary Capacity — a testator who did not have the mental capacity to understand their property’s nature or that they were making a will was incompetent.
  • Failure to Follow Legal Formalities — Failure to follow legal formalities, such as having a witness, can invalidate a will.

If you need advice on this or any other matter regarding probate litigation, contact an experienced lawyer today. After reviewing the facts of your case, your attorney will advise you.


Is It Possible To Sue My Brother Or Sister If My Inheritance Was Stolen?

Can I sue my sister for stealing my inheritance? It is possible to sue a sibling who steals your inheritance. Still, with an experienced probate litigation attorney, you may be able to recover your stolen inheritance without resorting to a lawsuit.

In response to a lawyer’s demand letter, a sibling who has stolen their sibling’s inheritance often returns it voluntarily.

Usually, a letter that explains the potential consequences of inheritance theft will suffice to convince your sibling to return your inheritance. The California Probate Code allows victims of inheritance theft to pursue double, triple, punitive damages, disinheritance of the thief, and attorney’s fees and costs.


Inheritances: How Can I Find Out if I Have One?

How do you prove inheritance theft? As per California Probate Code 8110, the person who files a petition for probate must notify the following people 15 days before the scheduled hearing:

  • Legal heirs of the deceased.
  • Beneficiaries named in the will.
  • Executors and alternative executors choose in a will.

When the executor receives this notice, they will contact you to let you know how to participate in the proceedings. If you appear in the will, the executor will contact you. You can also ask for a copy of the will to ascertain the inheritance upon the estate’s transfer.


What to do when a sibling steals your inheritance? 

The first step is to contact an attorney in probate who works near where the deceased resided (lived) at the time of death. If you believe a sibling has wrongfully taken your inheritance in the USA, consult an estate law attorney to review relevant legal documents. Attempt mediation to resolve the issue amicably; if unsuccessful, consider legal action to recover your inheritance. Document all communication and transactions related to the dispute to support your case.


Why should you contact an attorney immediately?

Meeting some deadlines is crucial because time is of the utmost importance. You must meet the deadline to avoid losing your job.

This is the kind of probate attorney can provide for you:

  • Examine the probate status filed for the deceased in the expected place of filing.
  • If you missed the opportunity to intervene after completing a probate, investigate what happened with the estate. In the situation of hanky-panky, the attorney will help you determine if there are any legal recourses directly against the person who has been a liar before the court.
  • And if you still need to do a probate, an attorney may help you apply. Attorneys can also help in the search for assets to a certain extent. 
  • When the trustee does not agree to comply, an attorney may help file a request for a court order. The order would require the trustee to provide an account of the trust and an accounting.
  • If the trustee took money from an estate or trust, an attorney could help you go to court to replace the trustee. They could also help in suing the trustee to get the funds back.

In almost every crime, there is a solution; however, you can’t just stand by and watch that things will work out. If bad actors are in the mix, intervention will be necessary to resolve these issues. And if we do not intervene, the bad actors will eventually be able to get away with their crimes. It is your responsibility to be the one to take your bull by its horns and claim the rights you have. Be confident that lawyers have a wealth of experience in these issues.


A Guide to Recovering Stolen Inheritances


A Guide to Recovering Stolen Inheritances


Is inheritance being stolen by whom?

Close relatives are the most common perpetrators of inheritance theft. Greed is one of the main motivations, while others steal because of financial constraints or to fund their substance abuse.


Stolen what?

The attorney needs to know what is missing to devise a recovery strategy. Usually, the inheritance funds, which are generally the most difficult to trace and recover, are stolen. Additionally, you might have lost a valuable item passed down from a family member or an asset like a car, a plot of land, or real estate.

Whenever you file a lawsuit against someone who stole from you, you must provide the lawyer with a copy of the will detailing the inheritance you received.


What was the method of theft?

The thief often earns the trust of an elderly victim before resorting to deception, lying, intimidation, manipulation, or forgery when stealing from them. If they are alive or deceived, it is possible to rob them. A decedent’s assets, such as jewelry and other valuables, could disappear, or someone could steal the estate.


How long ago was the theft committed?

If someone has stolen your inheritance, you must explain how they did it. A lot depends on the timeline of when the theft occurred. It is common for a thief to steal an inheritance for some time. Was this someone who knew the deceased well? Perhaps they convinced the dead to name them as executors or change the will, or in the worst case. They wrote others off as overachieving.

If a close relative steals from you, they may be motivated by coercion or fear. The evidence you collect will help you determine whether the robbery was a planned or impulse purchase. When you seek help from a lawyer, one of the first things they consider is whether it is worthwhile to pursue the case.


What Is The Best Way To Recover Stolen Inheritance From An Estate?

If you want to recover stolen assets from an estate, here are some ways you can go about it, according to the type of assets.


Assets of financial value

It may be necessary for the court to order someone to return the assets if they have stolen them from the estate. These assets include bank accounts, business interests, investment properties, and retirement accounts. You might need to take that matter to a higher court if you suspect someone mishandled or stole the decedent’s funds while they were alive.


Investing in real estate

It may be possible for the court to invalidate the title if they find someone had fraudulently executed the documents. However, recovering real estate assets can be a complicated process that requires legal expertise.


Belongings of the individual

If your personal belongings disappear, finding the purchaser can be challenging. Keep a detailed list of everything in the estate if any investigation becomes necessary.

A qualified estate litigation lawyer can assist you in recovering financial, real estate, or personal property you lost due to inheritance theft.


Do Lawsuits Make Sense?

How to prove inheritance theft? Considering whether or not your case has a chance of success will be necessary for your attorney before taking on your case. You may feel somewhat emotional right now if you recently had valuables stolen.

We agree that the best method of ensuring justice is to file a lawsuit. However, there are times when the investment of time and resources is in vain. Let’s examine everything that could play a role in deciding whether or not to sue.


Lawsuit Costs

You can help your budget by considering how much money you will lose if you skip work to attend court proceedings. Remember to factor in attorney fees when estimating the cost of suing someone.


An Inheritance’s Value

When inheriting wealth, meeting set value requirements in different states is essential. You might need an inheritance of at least $3,000 to pursue a lawsuit. The value needs to be at least $3,000 in various states. Your probate lawyer will accept the filing if it meets these requirements.


Proving your case with evidence

To prove your case in court, you’ll need to do some research to gather the supporting documentation you need to present as proof. There needs to be sufficient evidence to be a significant obstacle. An inventory of stolen assets is essential to pinpointing them.

Red flags include large cash transfers from trust funds and beneficiary changes for retirement or life insurance funds.

If, for example, the deceased was coerced into changing the title or beneficiaries and listing someone other than a family member as a beneficiary, you may need to demonstrate foul play.

You must hire a forensic accountant to examine financial records if you suspect someone stole your inheritance. However, your lawyer will engage a specialist if this is the case.


State Penalties for Stealing From Estates



The beneficiary of an estate has the right to file a discovery and turnover proceeding to recover the wrongfully acquired property from the perpetrator. Turnover will return the property to the rightful owner if the turnover occurs. It is possible to discuss paying back attorney’s fees from the decedent’s estate.



A beneficiary can request the probate court to levy penalties on another heir if they believe that the individual has obtained a share exceeding what is rightfully theirs. For instance, if the executor is also a beneficiary and committing fraud, the court may discover that the executor is stealing from the estate. The court can recover the executor’s share of the estate. Then, it will distribute it to the other beneficiaries.


Discharge of executor

If there is enough proof that an executor has acted unethically, we may need to find a new administrator or executor. This might happen when a proper removal process begins. When someone steals an inheritance, they lose it, and their administration documents lapse.

An executor’s power lapses when his letters of testament expire. When an executor’s letters pass, they have no more authority as executor. When the term of the fiduciary ends, they hand over the estate to a new administrator.

The court appoints a public administrator when there is no willing or qualified heir to manage the estate’s finances and distribute its assets. It would be best to discuss the range of outcomes you might encounter during the probate process with your attorney.


Attorneys’ fees

The executors may also face punishment for taking estate assets and spending them on legal representation. If a court rules that the executor misappropriated estate assets, they may need to pay the estate’s legal fees. In some circumstances, the executor may have to cover the legal costs of the beneficiaries.


Criminal penalty

If a person steals a lot of money from an estate, and there is strong evidence, that person might go to prison.


Bottom Line

A complete and current estate plan is crucial to ensure your inheritance is not stolen and avoid the probate court. The legal documents you have organized will provide additional protection for your property after you pass away, making it harder for anyone else to challenge your wishes. This is where Industry Leader comes in; we’ll create the legal documents you can use in your estate planning and give you peace.

Hedy Ghavidel

HEDY GHAVIDEL Managing Partner  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  Bio...

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