Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo  Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo
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Addressing a murderer's claim to an inheritance

The comical musing that one is in such a hurry to receive his or her inheritance that he or she is willing to kill for it is certainly one we've heard before here at The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo. Yet as silly as this idea may seem, enough validity has been attributed to the actual intent that language has been included in the California Probate Code addressing it. Thus, you may need to be familiar with it if you have been asked to serve as the personal representative or executor of an estate in Woodland Hills.

If one of the heirs of the estate over which you serve as executor is responsible for the death of the testator, he or she loses his or her entitlement to all of the following:

  •          Any assets contained in a will or held in trust that had been conferred upon him or her upon the testator's death.
  •          Any property set to be dispersed through intestate succession.
  •          Any community property he or she may have been entitled to receive.
  •          The payout from a life insurance policy or bond.

If the killer happens to be a joint tenant to your family member or friend’s estate, he or she also forfeits any rights by survivorship.

An actual criminal conviction is not needed to withhold the inheritance of one suspected of killing his or her benefactor. If a preponderance of evidence shows this to be case, the court may choose on its own to deny him or her any estate assets. In such a case, the burden of proof is upon you or whoever is making the claim of murder to show it to be so.

More information on administering an estate under unique circumstances is available on our site. 

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