Savvy Tips Guru

Practical Advice to Help you Cope & Recover Stolen Inheritance

how to recover stolen inheritance

Finding out that your inheritance has been stolen can be upsetting. In this article, we’ll give you some simple steps to deal with this tough situation and help you figure out how to get your stolen inheritance back.

Can inheritance get stolen?

Inheritance theft is a sad thing that happens to people who are supposed to get money or things from someone who has passed away. It might sound strange, but it happens more often than you might think. Usually, it’s family members, like siblings, who do this. They might try to take more than their fair share of what was left behind. Sometimes, even the person in charge of handling the will can do this, taking advantage of their power.

When there’s tension or arguments within a family about who gets what from an inheritance, it can make inheritance theft more likely. Also, when people are sad about losing a loved one, they might not think clearly and could be easily tricked or pressured into giving up what they’re supposed to inherit.

Inheritance theft can happen in different ways. Sometimes, it’s subtle, like pressuring someone who’s about to pass away to change their will. Other times, it’s more direct, like stealing things from the person’s belongings after they’ve passed. No matter how it happens, inheritance theft can cause big problems, like losing money, hurting relationships, and getting into long fights in court.

Are there laws in place about stolen inheritance?

Thankfully, there are laws to protect people whose inheritance has been stolen. Each state has its own rules about inheritance and how estates are divided up. But overall, these laws usually have ways to deal with situations where someone steals or misuses someone else’s inheritance.

These laws often explain what heirs or beneficiaries can do if their inheritance is stolen. They might include things like suing the person who stole from them, trying to get their stolen stuff back, or even getting the police involved if it’s serious enough.

Also, inheritance laws usually set rules for what happens in probate court, where they sort out who gets what from the deceased person’s stuff. In probate court, they make sure things are done fairly, investigate if someone’s been stealing, and make sure those who’ve been wronged get justice.

Heirs and beneficiaries may also challenge the validity of the will or trust if they suspect foul play during its creation. They can show evidence that the deceased was influenced unfairly, tricked, or was not mentally able to make decisions about their stuff.

What can I do if this happens?

It’s distressing and overwhelming to discover that your inheritance has been stolen.  However, taking immediate action is critical to preserving your rights and reclaiming what is rightly yours. Here are steps you can take if your inheritance is stolen: 

  • Gather Evidence: Begin by collecting any documentation or evidence related to the inheritance and the theft. This could include copies of the will, trust paperwork, financial data, and any correspondence with the criminal.
  • Consult Legal Help: Consult a probate attorney who specializes in inheritance theft cases. They can advise you on your legal rights, evaluate the strength of your case, and detail your available alternatives for remedy.
  • Notify Authorities: If criminal activity is suspected, report the theft to the police or relevant authorities. Provide them with all pertinent information and evidence to aid in their inquiry.
  • Communicate: If the thief is a family member or sibling, consider initiating a conversation with them to address the situation. Approach the conversation calmly and assertively, expressing your concerns and seeking a solution.
  • Consider Mediation: In cases where the theft has strained family relationships, mediation can be a valuable option for resolving disputes. An impartial mediator can assist parties in engaging in constructive negotiation and establishing a mutually accepted settlement.
  • Take Legal Action: If necessary, pursue legal action against the thief to recover your inheritance through civil court proceedings. Your attorney can assist you in filing a lawsuit and representing your interests in court.

Can I still recover my inheritance?

Finding out that someone took your inheritance can feel bad, but there are things you can do to try and get it back. Even though it might be tough and confusing, there’s still hope. Here are some things to think about if you want to get your inheritance back:

1. Timeliness

If someone takes your inheritance, it’s important to act fast. There are time limits on how long you have to take legal action. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to a probate lawyer right away. They can help you understand your rights and figure out what steps to take next.

2. Strength of evidence

To make your case strong, you need proof. This could be documents like wills, trust papers, or bank records that show you should have received the inheritance. The more evidence you have, the better chance you have of getting your inheritance back in court.

3. Legal recourse

You have different legal options in case someone steals your inheritance. You can sue the person who stole it in civil court to get back what’s rightfully yours. If the theft involved illegal actions, you could also go to the police and press criminal charges. Talking to a lawyer who knows about these things can help you figure out the best way to go forward.

4. Cooperation of parties

Sometimes, getting your stolen inheritance back can be easier if the person who took it admits what they did and gives it back willingly. If they’re open to admitting their mistake and returning what they stole, you might be able to sort things out without going to court. But if they won’t cooperate or disagree with you, you might have to take legal action to get back what’s rightfully yours.

5. Emotional considerations

Recovering what someone you care about has stolen from you can be emotionally challenging. It’s crucial to look after yourself and reach out for support from friends, family, or professionals if you’re feeling overwhelmed. While it’s important to fight for what’s rightfully yours, taking care of your mental and emotional well-being should also be a priority as you navigate through this challenging situation.

How can I prevent my inheritance from being stolen?

While it may not be possible to eliminate the risk of inheritance theft, there are proactive measures you can take to safeguard your assets and minimize the likelihood of theft: 

  • Clear Communication: Ensure that your wishes regarding inheritance are documented in your will or trust. Clearly outline who should receive which assets and under what conditions to avoid ambiguity or disputes.
  • Choose Executors Wisely: Select trustworthy individuals to serve as executors or trustees of your estate. Consider their integrity, competence, and willingness to fulfill their fiduciary duties responsibly.
  • Regular Reviews: Regularly examine and revise your estate plan to reflect any changes in circumstances or relationships. Update beneficiary names, asset distributions, and other provisions as needed to ensure they reflect your current preferences.
  • Transparency: To avoid disagreements or misunderstandings, be open and honest with family members about your estate plan. Discuss your plans freely, and respond to any worries or questions they may have.

If someone steals your inheritance, staying calm and seeking support become important. With determination and the guidance of legal experts, you can navigate through the challenges of inheritance theft and work towards getting back what belongs to you.

Know what to do after your inheritance is stolen

Coping with a stolen inheritance requires patience, determination, and legal guidance. Taking proactive steps and seeking support will help you navigate this challenging situation and work towards reclaiming what is rightfully yours.


  • RJ Sinclair

    RJ is our resident money guru, with a knack for keeping finances neat and organized. With previous experience as a budget manager in supply chain companies, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Count on RJ as a trustworthy source for valuable money tips and advice to help you make the most of your financial journey.