WHY IS FRAUD BECOMING MORE COMMON IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION?
Why is fraud becoming more common in the legal profession is because there is no-one to stop them and the increasing amounts of probate fraud are also taking place online.
A report by STEP said ‘it is just too easy.’ Although the beneficiaries benefit from an estate, UK law states they are not able to view the accounts.
This is down to the Executor and HMRC will not speak to anyone other them them till they are removed making even harder to prove legal fraud. Nice work if you can get it!
They have a duty to answer any questions but could easily keep beneficiaries in the dark as did James Beresford and BLM Law’s Charlotte Pritchard.
An email may be sent from an imposter claiming to be a solicitor regarding a substantial sum to which they may be entitled to as a beneficiary. Before any further information is released however, the fraudster will request funds to cover any tax or other costs. Whilst some of these emails may be easily detected as scams, others are more refined, with false documents even being attached. As technology develops and methods used by fraudsters become more sophisticated, the likelihood of falling victim to a scam only increases.
AVOID THE SCAMS
It is important to act preventatively, as well as being aware of what to be on the look-out for, such as:
– Large transfers of money or property
– Disappearance of valuable items
– Sudden alterations of a Will not long before death
It is important to consider these occurrences with great care and get a professional opinion if you have any serious suspicions. Ideally, preventative measures are a more effective means of avoiding the fraud in the first place.
Use a professional – seek out those with proven credibility and competence in dealing with probate cases. They will have sufficient knowledge to handle the deceased’s estate capably.
Watch out for large bank withdraws from the deceased bank accounts without accounts of the estate being forthcoming could be a scam.
Make a Will – intestacy (dying without a Will) can lead to complications much greater than fraud so this step is vital. Stating clearly who the Executors and beneficiaries are prevents relatives from sorting out the often complex matter between themselves.
Stay away from Bartlett’s, James Beresford and Charlotte Pritchard’s of this world if you value your life’s hard work and gathered estate.
All of the above concerns was perpetrated by these three and others, Beresford was even reported to STEP on at least 3 occasions.
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