The concept of forgery arises both in criminal and civil matters.
In criminal matters, forgery is a crime where the defendant is said to have falsely signed, made or materially altered a writing covered by the forgery statute with the intent to commit fraud.
In the context of the probate court proceeding relating to a Will or a Trust, forgery may arise concerning the alleged fraudulent creation or alteration of a document.
Proving forgery in court can be challenging since it often requires the testimony of an expert who has conducted a detailed examination of various elements of a document, such as the paper, they typed fonts, the date, handwriting and time sequences all in the context of the content of the document. Every detail plays a role in establishing a case against the alleged forger. In this article, we will delve into the key aspects of proving forgery in probate court proceedings.
Something Doesn’t Match…
In order to know how to prove forgery in court it’s important to understand the intricacies of handwriting analysis. Handwriting, like a unique fingerprint, can reveal a great deal about an individual. This uniqueness has made handwriting analysis a staple of private investigators, police departments, forensic experts and many others, for decades. In fact, according to graphologists, handwriting analysis can determine personality traits, education level and more.
One key element in handwriting analysis is establishing the authenticity of signatures. Suspicions such as paper watermarks, font types, starts and stops in handwriting, comparisons with other handwriting examples, inconsistent letters, variations in the writing style and discrepancies in the overall composition, and even the depth of the impression of the writing instrument on the paper, can serve as signs of forgery. This is where the expertise of a handwriting expert becomes invaluable.
Experts such as a forensic document examiner or “handwriting expert” can examine the document for signatures, determining consistency and identifying any discrepancies that might indicate forgery. But their analysis goes beyond a simple visual examination; they delve into the finite scientific investigation of the document through non-destructive means including high definition photography or other physical sensors, examining the details of the writing, assessing the time, date and even the location of the signature. By doing so they can provide a professional and unbiased opinion on whether the handwriting in question is genuine or forged.
We See It All Too Often
Forgery cases are not uncommon and they often surface in various legal contexts, including Will contests and Trust disputes. In California, where trust and estate matters are prevalent, proving forgery in court can be especially challenging. The facts behind Will Contests and Trust disputes may involve complex relationships, emotional dynamics and substantial assets, necessitating the presentation of highly convincing evidence.
Understanding the specific challenges of proving forgery in Will Contests or Trust disputes in California requires a nuanced approach. Legal professionals and handwriting experts can navigate the intricacies of such cases and provide invaluable insights and support.