The “slayer rule” is a rule that some states recognize prevents someone convicted of causing death from later profiting by inheriting from the deceased victim. Texas does not recognize the slayer rule except for insurance proceeds, as I’ve written before. In fact, Texas has a constitutional provision that states that a person’s inheritance rights can’t be denied because of a crime that he committed. But, Texas accomplishes the same result, but it requires that the heirs take some affirmative action.
In an article on recordonline.com, Bonnie Kraham, an attorney practicing elder law and estate planning with the Ettinger Law Firm in New York, wrote about the slayer law in New York and how it intertwined with the “Son of Sam” law that was passed to prevent criminals from profiting from their crimes. In the interesting article, Kraham talked about several possible loopholes and how the courts had dealt with them. One of those loopholes is set out in the title, e.g., what if you’re found not guilty by reason of insanity. Can you inherit then? What if you kill you mother-in-law who leaves everything to your wife then your wife dies? Can you inherit your mother-in-law’s property that way? Kraham points out that the courts found ways to apply the slayer rule to these cases even though they were not exactly slayer rule cases. The article is fascinating reading for this dark area of inheritance law.
In Texas, the other family members must file suit to prevent the slayer from inheriting. If your attorney is not familiar with Texas inheritance law and files suit under the slayer rule concept, you will find yourself quickly out of court.
Copyright by Robert Ray a Texas inheritance attorney. The foregoing information is general in nature and does not apply to every fact situation. If you are concerned about inheritance laws, inheritance rights, have a family inheritance dispute, a property dispute, or want information about contesting a will and need an inheritance lawyer, we can help. We are Texas inheritance lawyers and would love to learn about your case, and there is no fee for the initial consultation.