Will fraud – religious values catch out fraudster

Posted on: June 8th, 2018

Forging a will is on any basis a deplorable action, not only seeking to rob those properly entitled to the estate, but more importantly completely disrespecting the last wishes of their supposed loved one.

It is not always easy to spot a forged will and the nephew of Peter Ascott almost got away with a forgery. It has been reported in The Sun that William Venning was “rumbled” when it was spotted that the will had been signed on a Sunday. Astute relatives picked up this detail and the will validity was challenged on the basis Mr Ascott could not have signed the will on a Sunday because he was a devout Christian.

The sorry tale started when Venning was written out of the will in 2010 after his uncle sided with Venning’s ex-wife following their “bitter divorce”. In the 2010 will, he would have inherited £10,000 as would his ex-wife, sister and Mr Ascott’s carer. After Mr Asott’s death in 2012, Venning “found” a new will in which he benefitted to the tune of £30,000 cutting out those who he had fallen out with as a result of the divorce.

Whilst to any man on the street, £30,000 is a lot of money, the forgery was a huge risk for a relatively modest sum compared to most reported will forgery cases. Venning was rightly sentenced to a five and a half year jail sentence for his efforts. The saga doesn’t end there however with his “lover” Sally Clarke and another receiving two year suspended sentences for being so called witnesses to the will.

Sadly will forgery is on the increase and if you are at all suspicious about an estate where you expected to inherit or you are an executor who suspects foul play, please call us for a free initial discussion.

Chris Gambs is an Associate Solicitor in the Inheritance and Wills Disputes team.