How can someone who has not been charged or found guilty of murder be stopped from receiving benefits from the victim?
Arizona has so-called Slayer Statutes that protect the financial interests of a homicide victim. The Slayer Statutes also ensure that the perpetrator of the murder does not financially benefit from the murder. A Slayer Statute applies specifically to the estate of a murder victim. If a beneficiary of an individual’s estate is found to have intentionally killed that individual, then the beneficiary will forfeit all benefits. Under this statute, the court does not need to find that the beneficiary is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, as required in criminal cases. For the Slayer Statute to take effect, the court merely needs to find that the beneficiary is guilty of intentional murder by the preponderance of the evidence. This standard is much lower and much easier to meet. Therefore, a beneficiary can be acquitted of murder in a criminal court and found guilty under this standard.
To discuss your estate planning needs, contact a Phoenix estate planning attorney at 480-464-1111.