Based on cases and the experience Sage Investigations, LLC gleaned from those cases, Sage has identified an area of investigation that we refer to as the Inheritance Investigations.
Weekly we receive a call from frustrated individuals dealing with an executor, executrix, or administrator. In the last ten years, the baby boomer generation seniors who have accumulated wealth pass away and leave estates to their children and beneficiaries. These boomers have accumulated vast wealth in tangible assets such as cash, ranches, rental property, stock and bonds, the ownership of businesses, and at times intangible assets such as patents, copyrights, franchises, trademarks, and trade names.
In many cases, the children and beneficiaries want access to the money as soon as possible. I always caution them to make sure they have a highly competent lawyer specializing in the area of estate and trust to counsel them. There are a number of them in Texas. In addition, a forensic accountant would be valuable in marshaling the assets and liabilities of the estate and determining the value of a business, real estate, and intangibles.
Proper and timely legal advice will help the executor, executrix, or administrator with the will’s administration. The children and beneficiaries should be aware of some activities before the death of the testator. They should stay in contact with the testator and be mindful of the person with power of attorney (POA) for the testator who could abuse the estate and mishandle the assets. There are times the POA may take money or property before death and then claim it as a gift. At times, caregiver family members can exert “undue influence” to coerce the testator or take advantage of the testator with the diminished mental capacity to change their will to benefit the family member. They could even go further with the forging of a codicil to change the will.
The steps people will take to access someone else’s wealth are only limited by imagination, not willpower. Albert Einstein is credited with stating, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The average person can imagine accessing someone’s wealth but will not attempt to take the wealth because of morals, values, rules, and virtues. On the other hand, those with weak morals due to poor upbringing, perceived greater need, greed, or prior law violations have diminished ethical decision-making ability. They will have a tough time dealing with the wealth of others. These individuals should not be allowed to be in charge of an estate or trust.
When considering an executor, executrix, or administrator of your estate, remember they have a legal duty as a fiduciary to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. Almost anyone can be an executor, “many are called, but few are chosen.” It takes integrity to assume the role of a fiduciary for an estate and its beneficiaries.
If your client needs the assistance of a forensic accountant / financial investigator, consider referring the law firm on the case to Sage Investigations, LLC, especially if the case continues beyond your involvement. If the case requires a forensic accountant and expert witness testimony, you can still benefit from the case by receiving a referral fee. Contact Chief Investigator Edmond Martin of Sage Investigations, LLC at 512-659-3179-or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let our 26 years as an IRS Special Agent and 20 years of Private Investigation work benefit you and your clients. Please visit our website at www.Sageinvestigations.Com. Click to read about our team and their CVs.