When you create an estate plan in California, you set things up for when you die. The plan outlines your wishes and creates a legally binding guideline for your executor to follow when dispersing assets. However, there are a few ways that an estate plan could end up doing harm or causing issues. This is especially true when inheritance theft occurs.

The Hartford explains inheritance theft is any situation where someone takes from an estate. This could happen in a seemingly legal manner. For example, if someone encourages or leads you to leave them your assets instead of leaving them to your rightful heirs, this could be theft. This person is conning you just to get your estate. It could also happen through other means of deception, such as the creation of false documents.

It may also happen after you die once your estate is in the hands of the executor. He or she could steal from the estate. Another complication is if you loaned money to a family member with the expectation that he or she would pay you back, but you did not create any documentation of the loan, so when you die, this family member says the loan was a gift and doe not pay back the estate.

In some cases, it is very tricky to prove inheritance theft. Your heirs may have to go through a lot of legal processes to prove there is a problem and to finally get what is rightfully theirs. This information is for education. It is not legal advice.