Arlington, TX asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Texas

Q: Single mom died , dad lied on death cert saying they were married . He stole all that was left t me by doing that.

There was a will 4 months prior to her death I seen it. It left the house and all bank accounts to me. She was divorced since 1994 but he snuck in and now there is no will and he lied on the death certificate saying they were married. He has taken over the house and bank accounts. Telling me she left me. Nothing. Lie... I'm the only living heir I filed it in probate yesterday . Now how do I get him prosecuted for fraud and stealing. ?

2 Lawyer Answers
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: You would need to report him to law enforcement. It would be helpful to them if you provide the divorce decree and affidavits from several close friends and relatives of your deceased mom stating that she never remarried or lived with dad after their divorce in 1994, and certainly never held herself out as being married to dad since their divorce in 1994. You might also provide them with a copy of the Will you filed in probate court and give them the probate case number.

You most likely can provide similar information to the banks. As long as he isn't listed as a co-owner or POD on the bank accounts, the banks can't release funds to him without proof that he is entitled to them.

You should probably get the funeral director or medical certifier to correct the death certificate using this form:


Since you are your mom's sole heir and dad had to sneak in, presumably your mom's doctor unquestionably knows you and you are the only person who would have been likely to make her funeral arrangements. Either the doctor or funeral director would be qualified applicants to correct a death certificate.

James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: It's crucial to gather all the evidence you have, such as documents proving your mother's divorce and any information regarding the will you mentioned. Collect witness statements or any proof of the fraudulent actions taken by your father. Documentation and concrete evidence are key in legal proceedings.

Consult with an attorney experienced in probate and fraud cases. They can guide you through the process of challenging the validity of the actions taken by your father, including the false information on the death certificate and the misappropriation of assets. An attorney can also help in filing the necessary legal actions to correct the situation and possibly pursue charges of fraud.

Finally, stay organized and keep a detailed record of all interactions and steps taken during this process. This includes keeping copies of all filed documents, communication with your lawyer, and any correspondences related to the case. Patience and persistence are essential, as legal proceedings can take time to resolve.

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