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My grandfather passed away last year. His will was recently filed, and his sister is about to be named executor.

His sister took a $100,000, 5-year, 5% interest loan from him before he died. She claims this loan was forgiven before his death, and provided a copy of a letter, a typed letter, clearly typed by herself, but which contains his signature at the bottom. I asked if she has an original (with a "wet" signature), and she claims she cannot find it. All that exists is a photocopied letter with his signature at the bottom. It is not notarized.

Given that (1) it is not notarized and (2) there is no original, are there any concrete rules which would render this document invalid (forcing her to report it as an account receivable to the estate)?

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... are there any concrete rules which would render this document invalid?

Yes

It would be invalid if:

  • it was a forgery,
  • the consent it represents was obtained via undue influence.

The onus of proving either would be on the person challenging the validity of the document. This would normally be the executor of the estate which obviously poses conflict of interest problems. However, an executor is legally required to put the interests of the estate ahead of their own so if such allegations were made, the executor would either have to satisfy the person making the allegation, drop the forgiveness or resign as executor so they could be independently investigated.

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