practice areas

The vast majority of wills are accepted by courts without challenge. However, for various reasons, wills are challenged by family members or other beneficiaries of a decedent, usually because they suspect something is wrong with the will. In some cases, a will written in California may actually carry a forged signature, meaning the will does not reflect the wishes of the decedent at all.

Bizfluent lays out a number of ways to recognize a signature that may be forged. Usually, forged signatures appear odd for some reason. To try to figure out what appears wrong with the signature, a good first step is to take a document with an authentic signature and compare it to the prospective forgery. This can help you pick out specific details that do not appear right.

There are typical signs that indicate a forged signature. Many of them stem from the fact that the forger is concentrating to match another person’s signature. For this reason, the forged signature will appear unnatural in a number of ways. Some forgers will pause while signing to examine their progress. If they are using ballpoint pens, the ink will leave a dot if the forger is pressing the pen down on the paper while studying the signature.

Conversely, a forger may lift up the pen before finishing a signature. Forgers sometimes pause while writing to refer back to an authentic copy of the signature to make sure they are accurately copying the handwriting. However, when they place the pen back down, it can press a harder stroke in writing the next letter. Pausing in this manner can also cause wider spaces between letters than is normal.

The concentration needed to forge a signature can cause an unsteady hand while writing. You may notice that a genuine signature flows smoothly, while letters in a forged copy contain shakier lines. So you might have a clue that something is wrong if you notice erratic letters and characters in a signature than you would ordinarily observe in your relative’s handwriting.

These are just some of the signs that indicate something is amiss with a signature. Consulting an expert is crucial if you want to find out if a signature is truly suspect. If the signature is proven to be a forgery, it can invalidate the will completely. Keep in mind that this article is only intended as information on will contests and is not actionable legal advice.