When people in Los Angeles are murdered or die unexpectedly and their spouses, family members or loved ones are suspects, a common motive that law enforcement officials may look into is if one “did it for the money.” The idea of killing someone to inherit their assets is certainly not new, although most would immediate assume that one who actually committed a crime for this reason would immediately be disinherited. Yet is that true?
It is, yet it was not always this way. As recently as the 1950s, there were actually no laws in place that prevented murderers from inheriting assets from their victims. Today, however, such a thing cannot happen. This fact was recently reaffirmed in a case involving an attorney in Georgia. The man was recently convicted for killing his wife (despite his claims that his shooting her was unintentional). Evidence exists in his case that there may have been a financial motive for the crime; indeed, he had been named executor of her estate in her will, and also reclaimed sole ownership of their 85-acre ranch. Before being found guilty, he had already drained the estate of over $323,000. While many of those expenditures were deemed appropriate, other financial stipulations of the woman’s will that called for payments to other parties were never (nor were her cremation expenses, leaving her askes unclaimed for almost six weeks).
With the man’s murder conviction, the wife’s estate case now proceeds as though he preceded her in death. Interestingly, had he been convicted of involuntary manslaughter, he could have still been entitled to inherit her estate.
This case may serve as confirmation that estate issues can often be complex. Those dealing with them may find it in their best interest to enlist the services of an experienced attorney.
Source: Law.com “Murder Conviction Bars McIver From Cashing In on Dead Wide’s Estate” McDonald, R. Robin, Apr. 25, 2018