Is it illegal to forge a will and claim Government bonds and what is the statute.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it illegal to forge a will and claim Government bonds and what is the statute.

Friend of family died with no family. Friend forged a will for the entire estate containing money, house, car and hundreds of series E bonds and war bonds. They went to court. took an oath and took the everything. Does the stealing of the bonds considered stealing form the government?

Asked on May 8, 2017 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is illegal, but it is not stealing from the government: the government got its money when it sold the bonds and doesn't care who cashes them out, etc. later. It is theft from whomever would have inherited the bonds and/or other property, under either an authentic will (if there was one) or under "intestate succession" if there was no will. That person or people can look to file charges against the forger, and also sue him or her for the value of what they took. Or another person can certainly report this to the police, but if there is no victim to come forward who was hurt, the authorties may not care.

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