What is the Slayer Rule?

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July 22, 2022
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What is the Slayer Rule?

Nathan Carman was charged with “murder on the high seas” for allegedly killing his mother during a boating excursion. He has also been implicated in the murder of his grandfather, but there haven’t been any charges brought from that crime yet. Like many states, Connecticut (where Carman was charged) has a “slayer rule” on its books. This rule essentially says that people who commit crimes can’t profit from those crimes.

In other words, if someone commits murder, they are unable to inherit anything from their victim. Nathan was estimated to inherit over $7 million dollars, his mother’s share of Chakalos’ estate, the family’s large estate located in Chesterfield, New Hampshire .That would be profiting from wrongdoing, which the rule specifically prohibits. There are some unanswered questions in Carman’s case, though, because of the issues surrounding his case. Those issues have the potential to get Carman around the slayer rule, depending on how a jury or court might weigh in on Carman’s misdeeds and the hand he played in his mother’s death.

For example, one question is whether the slayer rule may or may not apply to unintentional killings. Additionally, there is a question of whether the rule should be in effect without a criminal conviction, if the killing has been established through the probate court. Right now, Connecticut’s slayer rule is currently triggered when there is a criminal conviction, and applies only to reckless manslaughter. Whether that can or should be changed, and how it will apply to Carman’s case, remains to be seen.

Discussion of possible charges in the killing of Carman’s grandfather have come up based on the details of the case, and the charges against Carman for his mother’s death. But now that Carman is facing charges, and may face additional charges in the future, it’s important to consider whether the slayer rule will have an impact on his future. Another consideration is whether the rule may need adjustment, to prevent Carman and others from profiting off of their misdeeds even without a criminal conviction.

Contact The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center to learn more about estate planning and to start or update your own Will or Trust!