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The civil consequences for killing a benefactor

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2019 | Estate Administration

Like most in Ocean County, you have probably heard someone joke about their beneficiaries wanting to “do them in” so that they can inherit their money faster. While such a notion might typically be dismissed as only being humorous musings, there have been enough real-world examples of people trying to hasten the deaths of those from who they stand to inherit assets to warrant statutory considerations. We here at Silvi, Fedele & Honschke Attorney’s at Law LLC have been asked in the past by concerned clients what would be the result of one being proven to have killed their benefactor, as concerns that this might actually happen are indeed very real.

If you fear that a beneficiary or other interested party to an estate that you are tied to may have had a role in the death of the settlor, you should know that the consequences of such an action extend beyond the penalties mandated by criminal law. Indeed, according to Section 3B.7-1-1 of New Jersey’s state statutes, one who is proven to have any involvement in the intentional killing of a settlor revokes any provisions pertaining to themselves of the said settlor’s estate, including: 

  • The disposition or appointment of any property made to them by any of the estate’s governing instruments
  • Any general or specials powers of appointment conferred upon them that are related to the estate
  • Nominations endorsing them for roles in the administration of the estate

In addition to effectively disinheriting themselves by killing the settlor, a killer’s actions would also disinherit any relative that they are related to by either blood, adoption or affinity who is not also related to the settlor in the same manner. 

You can learn more about how one’s actions might affect estate administration by continuing to explore our site.