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Legal News | 16.02.23

Legal Lessons: Forfeiture

Thankfully, forfeiture is not a matter which crops up often for us in practice. Most commonly, it arises in jest; we meet a couple to take their instructions for Wills, review their assets and one partner jokes that they might murder their partner now to get hold of that secret bank account.  Only then do we drop in that, in those circumstances, the law steps in (by virtue of the Forfeiture Act 1982) to prevent that murderous individual from benefitting from the deceased’s estate.

Whilst this rule seems fairly clear cut, you may be surprised to know that the law does not always prevent a killer from inheriting.

There is an exception that can be applied in manslaughter cases, where the judge considers that, in the circumstances, the rule should be modified. This exception was applied in a recent case; a husband who killed his wife, whilst experiencing a delusion that she was having an affair with their handyman and trying to poison him, will receive some of his wife’s estate. This was an exceptional case, with the judge commenting that the husband had “low or very low culpability for what happened”. Interestingly, the husband was not declared to be legally insane.

There are plenty more intricacies in the area of Private Client. What will you find out at your Will appointment? Contact us at wealth@wansbroughs.com or on 01380 733300 to book yours.


Posted By Our Wills, Tax, Trusts & Probate Team