Forging The Will
Altering the contents of a will
Needs Examples

(permanent link) added: 2012-12-30 07:14:00 sponsor: lu127 (last reply: 2013-01-07 00:56:41)

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I asked in Lost and Found, but no dice. If we already have it, tell me.

Bob, the ridiculously rich owner of Trope & co., is finally dead. He wants to leave everything to his children in his will, but his Treacherous Advisor or his Gold Digger wife interferes.

A common plotline during a Succession Crisis or inheritance squabbles involves someone altering the contents of the deceased's will. Whether by forgery, magic or other shenaningans, the individual will tamper with the document or replace it with a new one, leaving the succession to himself or his heirs. The rightful heir will be stunned, and his suspicions will eventually lead him to pursue the truth. Often, the perpetrator will be an aunt, uncle or a Gold Digger spouse.

If the deceased's will has not been found, see Lost Will And Testament. Common in Law Procedural and Murder Mysteries.

Examples:

[[folder:Comic Books]]
  • In "A Fat Tip For Murder!", a story printed in Crime Does Not Pay (a comic book retelling true crime stories), a hospital orderly is left $50.00 in a grateful wealthy patient's new will, then told to deliver it to the patient's attorney. He alters the will so that he will inherit $5000 instead, then murders the patient to ensure that he can't be asked if this is a typo. Unfortunately for the orderly, both the patient's attorney and a nurse catch on.
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[[folder:Literature]]
  • In Deryni, Cinhil's will is tampered with, to allow one faction amongst the regents to seize power. His son Rhys Michael alters his will to give legal cover to a move against the evil regents.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire and the TV show based on it, Game of Thrones, as King Robert is dying, he dictates his will for Eddard Stark to write. Robert says "to my son, Joffrey", but Ned replaces this with "to my rightful heir", as he had learned that Joffrey is not actually Robert's son.
  • Lampshaded in Witches Abroad. When being told the story of how the old Baron of Genua died, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg both make the Genre Savvy assumption that the one now in control, the Duc, has control because of a will discovered shortly after the Baron's death with the ink still wet.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • One Rumpole of the Bailey story revolves around a forged will; Rumpole is retained by the true beneficiary to represent her in challenging the false will. (He's initially reluctant to venture into a civil court case, but he can't resist a good forgery.)
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[[folder:Video Games]]
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the player character has the choice of whether or not to alter a will he/she finds in order to inherit some contested loot.
  • In Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Chief Constable Levin 'Third Eye' Jakes changes Mr Barde's, the primary landowner of the town, will to leave the majority of Misthallery to Mayor Triton, Barde's only friend, as part of Jakes' plan with Descole to become Mayor and find the Golden Garden.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • Spoofed in The Simpsons: When Marge's great-aunt Gladys dies she leaves a Video Will. The lawyer edits it to say "I leave my lawyer $50,000." A look from the family lets him know they don't believe it, but he says "You'd be surprised how often that works, you really would!"
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[[folder:Real Life]]
  • Howard Hughes died without a will, and several forgeries turned up. The most famous one was by Melvin Dummar, who claimed that he had picked up Hughes hitchhiking one day and was given $156 million in a handwritten will. This later became the basis for the film Melvin And Howard.
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