Can a murderer inherit his victim’s property?

Robert Ray

Texas Slayer Rule

Affirmative Action Required

The Texas State Constitution has a provision that says “”No conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate.” The Texas Estates Code §201.058 (Probate Code §41(d)) is similar. Those two provisions have been interpreted to allow a murderer to inherit from his victim. However, the courts have allowed the heirs of the victim to file suit against the murderer and to impose a constructive trust on any property he might receive from the victim. The practical effect of the constructive trust is to deny the murderer the inheritance from the victim.

If the heirs of the victim do nothing, the murderer receives his inheritance. If the heirs of the victim file suit in court, the courts will impose a constructive trust on the inheritance which effectively denies the inheritance to the murderer.

Insurance policies are different. The murderer does not inherit the proceeds from an insurance policy since there is a special statute that deals with insurance policies. That statute denies payment of the proceeds to the person who causes the death of the insured.

See another article on the this topic including the “Slayer’s Rule.”

PEARLS OF WISDOM: If someone is ever in a position where the Texas slayer rule is involved and a murderer is going to profit from his misdeed, affirmative action is required to prevent the murderer from inheriting the victim’s property. Compare 287 S.W.2d 546 with 68 S.W.3d 242.

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The Author

Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.
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