For a will to be legal it has to be signed by the person making the will, in the presence of two independent witnesses. However, we have all heard about situations where a will is contested particularly if the contents or beneficiaries are unexpected. Of course, just because a person’s will is unusual or eccentric does not mean it is not genuine, but in some cases, if a forgery is suspected then it is important to determine whether a will signature is forged or genuine.
If you find yourself in the situation that you wish to dispute a will, it is worth bearing in mind that a forgery can be difficult to prove in court, however most cases which are won will rely on the testimony of a handwriting expert.
At Cosslett and Barr our handwriting experts are regularly called upon to carry out signature forensics to determine whether a signature on a will document is genuine or not. Using a variety of techniques and specialist equipment we are able to look for discrepancies between the signature on the will and the deceased person’s genuine signatures.
In our last blog we spoke about how no two signatures are alike and how writing style is determined when a person learns to write. The subtle variations in style make each person’s handwriting and in particular their signature slightly different to someone else’s. These subtleties are what can help our handwriting experts to determine whether the signature on a will is forged or genuine. A forged signature on a will for example, may not contain the right size or slope of lettering, even though the forger has tried really hard to copy an original signature, the way that they actually formulate the letters and the pressure they apply to the pen, will be different to the person whose signature they are copying.
Do you suspect a will signature is forged?
If you are in the process of contesting a will and need a handwriting expert, please do get in touch with us on 0121 781 7216 or click here to send us a message.
In order for us to carry out our signature forensics we will need some specimen signatures to compare the suspected forgery with. These will need to be on original documents and signed around the same time as the will, where possible. For an accurate analysis we ask for between 10 and 30 specimen signatures and these can be taken from bank cards, passports, driving licences, letters, cheques or legal documents.