Assertions of one having killed their loved one in order to inherit their estate may seem to many in Los Angeles to be an overused cliche. However, enough incidents of this actually happening have occurred to compel legislators to create laws that automatically disinherit would-be heirs who are implicated in the deaths of those they are set to benefit from. The question then becomes how broadly can the term “implicated in” be applied?
The family of a slain Georgia woman is trying to invoke just such a statute in trying to revoke her former husband’s request to probate her will. The woman was killed when the man’s new girlfriend kidnapped her at gunpoint and then shot her before turning her weapon on herself. The man has denied any involvement in the plot, and he has never faced any criminal scrutiny related to it.
The slain woman’s family, however, believes that he came up with the idea with his former girlfriend, and that because of that, his interest in her estate be divested. Divorce would normally automatically revoke any right he would have to her estate, yet the couple never actually divorced. The woman had their divorce set aside after she successfully argued that a lack of communication caused her failure to appear at her divorce hearing.
The judge hearing the case ultimately disagreed with the family claims. In cases such as this, assertions that one should be disinherited need to backed up by evidence. That still may not mean that those who become the targets of such claims need not fight for their interests. Such a fight may become more winnable if one has an experienced attorney in their corner.