QUESTIONED WILLS AND TRUSTS

Cases regarding questioned Wills can involve various aspects of forensic document examination. For example, both the handwriting and the signature may be questioned, or a page is suspected of being substituted in a multi-page will or trust document. Sometimes an interlineation made to change the terms of the will is in doubt as to authorship or time frame.

It is always best to examine an original document, rather than a photocopy, and in some cases, it is the only way a question may be answered. If a will is lodged with the court, it is frequently necessary to obtain a court order for a document examiner to have access to it. (For a sample of the text for this court order, please download our example of this court order text.) The document examiner will examine and scan the original for comparison to genuine exemplars. However, if the question involves differentiation of inks or whether a page was substituted, the original will must be produced in our laboratory, as our equipment cannot be transported.

Please download our Guidelines for Exemplars to help gather the necessary signatures and handwriting exemplars required for the examination. In general, we will need to see at least 12 to 15 normal course of business genuine signatures (or handwriting, if the question involves handwriting) dated as close in time as possible (before or after) the date on the questioned document.