There are legal avenues to attack these types of gifts, regardless of what forms were signed. Anyone affected by a gift/bequest to the WTBTS should consult an attorney.
Watchtower Attorney and new contract for deceased?
We have been to a couple of attorneys. One was a Jesuit who represents the Catholic Church frequently. He said the Catholic church used to do what WTBTS does, but quit, because it was bad PR and did more harm than good in the long run.
The problem seems to be -AT THE EXACT TIME the elderly JW signed the paper, were they of sound mind. USUALLY the family finds out LATER this was all done. Few times do families have mom declared "non-compus mentus" by a judge. ..so you are faced with proving someone had dementia in the PAST. You also have statutes of limitations. And you need to PAY $$ to fight WTBTS.
IF the elderly person has recieved medicaid assistance ANYTHING you recover goes to the government, and you are possibly stuck with the legal bills and probably disfellowshipped causing further economic damage.
Contracts can be written but can also be made simply verbal agreement. When you make any sort of contract, for the contract to be valid you need these elements.
Consensus: (both parties need to understandably agree to each others terms)
Consideration (exchange of value must take place)
Capacity (of legal age to make decisions and of sound mind)
Legality (there can't be illegal terms in the contract)
Intention (clear statements)
If any of the above elements aren't present, the contract made between the parties can be void or voidable.
Above is taken from law book and below statements are my opinion and not legal facts, always ask practicing attorney for advice before proceeding with legal suits.
If an older person gives money to another party any of the above should be examined carefully to see if the contract can be void or is voidable. It may be argued that if money was lent out and the lending party thought that they could get the money returned upon any request, the contract may be voidable due to misunderstanding of the terms, or there was a mistake on one party or even innocent misrepresentation of facts by JW/WTS. If WTS "agent" approached an elderly individual and put some sort of idea in the senior person's head, that it's a good idea to give WTS money and the senior shouldn't worry about anything because they get it back but the opposite is true. This can be argued on either fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation with remedies being rescission and possible damages.
It is important to make contracts or any sorts on paper and make them as unambiguous as possible. The court will try to take literal understanding of the contract based on reasonable person rule and if ambiguous language the court will look at the industry standard for the practices dealing with similar contracts.
If WTS gave an impression that the money can be returned upon request but when the time came, wts doesn't want to return it, contact legal aid or attorney and see if you can sue wts and their agent (usually an elder) if applicable. Problem with faithful dubs is they rather suffer poverty than sue wts and I doubt family members can sue on behalf of the elderly jw suffering a loss, unless they have power of attorney over the elderly person.
Laws may vary in each country,or state but it is important to contact a lawyer and ask for their opinion on the matter. Some places have free legal aid which may be helpful to contact if you can't afford a lawyer consultation.
The mental capacity of anyone who is a JW is probably easier to challenge than for those who aren't JWs. Moreover, a lawsuit to set aside a charitable gift will produce bad publicity for the WTBTS, which would likely force them to settle the case.
I discovered that the JWs convinced my 90-year-old grandaunt to make a JW elder her personal representative of her estate and another JW "best friend" her Power of Attorney. I learned that they used a financial advisor at Wells Fargo Advisors to help raid her bank accounts for years, and then the WT and JWs received most of what was left of her estate. I am currently working on a book to expose this horrific practice. Can anyone direct me to people who have had similar experiences? I am especially determined to expose this practice because I personally witnessed JWs starve and neglect my grandaunt to death so that they could access payable on death accounts and an undisclosed $700,000 trust. Because they are smart enough to get legal control of the estate, it's cost prohibitive to pursue them in court, and extremely difficult to gain access to records that will prove their guilt. Please ask around and send people my way. Thank you so much. Nanette