Famous TV doctor Mehmet Oz—better known as “Dr. Oz”—recently accused his sister, Nazlim, of forging their late father’s will and stealing millions from his estate. A 2008 will left all of Mustafa Oz’s assets to the Mustafa Oz Foundation, a United States organization, and left Dr. Oz in charge of the foundation; however, Nazlim presented a new will dated 2018 after Mustafa’s death, which Dr. Oz claims is forged.
Mustafa Oz passed away in Turkey in 2019, and litigation regarding his estate subsequently commenced in Turkey. Turkish prosecutors reportedly followed some of the money to bank accounts in at least three other countries. The Turkish estate dispute is proceeding alongside a 2020 lawsuit filed by Nazlim against Dr. Oz in New York, in which Nazlim alleges Dr. Oz unlawfully withheld from Nazlim approximately $15,000 per month in rental payments from two Upper East Side apartments their father owned at his death. Dr. Oz recently filed an affidavit in the New York case, asking a Manhattan Supreme Court judge to stay the proceedings until the estate dispute in Turkey is resolved.
In North Carolina, a testator must sign and date his or her will in the presence of at least two disinterested witnesses (that is, people who do not stand to inherit as beneficiaries). Forgery is a form of fraud, and such challenges require strong evidence that forgery occurred for the court to invalidate a will. When a testator’s signature is at issue, handwriting experts are often consulted to analyze the signature and compare it to samples of the testator’s known signature. Additionally, statements from the witnesses present at the signing of the will may bolster forgery claims. If a party interested in the estate believes a will submitted for probate is forged or otherwise invalid, he or she can, within three years of the date the will is submitted for probate, file a caveat to the probate of the will. Once a caveat is filed, estate distributions are stayed until the validity of the will is determined.
The attorneys at Lindley Law have significant experience litigating trust and estate matters, including allegations of forged estate documents. If you need assistance maintaining or defending a matter regarding a trust or estate, please give us a call at 704-457-1010 to find out how we may be able to help you. For more information regarding our firm, attorneys, and practice areas, please visit our website at www.lindleylawoffice.com.