In any legal system (in which individuals can transfer property ownership upon their death through wills), there are probably criteria for when a will is admissible (e.g. the deceased was cognitively able to author one, no excessive influence etc); and if a will cannot be trusted to be valid, it will not be upheld (I presume).

My question is about the sanctions in the more extreme case, in which not only is a will not "trustworthy" enough set aside, but rather is the result of factually-established acts such as forging the signature, forging the text, forcing someone to sign against their will and so on. To clarify, I mean the cases in which there is strong, direct, irrefutable evidence forgery/coersion did occur.

I'm interested in examples of different approaches, especially in common-law and vs civil-law legal systems.


  • The will being set aside is not really a sanction... like the failure to get the loot from a bank robbery is not a sanction. I'm talking about what happens to someone who's commited such acts and has been discovered/proven to have done so.
  • The UK, the US, France or Germany are particularly interesting.
  • A related question is more general w.r.t. the legal ramifications of forgery; more specific w.r.t. the kind of forgery; and does not assume the forgery can be established in court. The answers to that question therefore do not address mine, and certainly do not regard the differences between legal systems.
  • 2
  • @TimLymington: See edit. – einpoklum Jun 13 '19 at 10:07
  • Actually, that question explicitly assumes that the forgery can be proven, and different answers address the sanctions in different systems. It may be that you are asking about what action the criminal justice system can take, as opposed to any individual affected; but merely saying "this isn't a duplicate" doesn't make it so. – Tim Lymington Jun 13 '19 at 11:25

Up to 10 years in prison

Part 5 of the NSW Crimes Act 1900 deals with forgery and s253 specifically deals with making a false document - it doesn't matter if that false document is a will or anything else. As an aside using a false document, possessing a false document and having materials designed for making false documents carry the same penalty.

  • Interesting that there's no specific sanction regarding wills, neither for actually demanding anything based on the forgery. Thanks. – einpoklum Jun 13 '19 at 12:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.