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Grandchildren will inherit instead of father in murder case

The children of a man convicted of murdering his parents will inherit money from their grandparents, after a probate court confirmed that the man cannot inherit from people he apparently killed.

Many Florida readers don't know this, but potential heirs who had a hand in the death of the person they would have inherited from are prohibited from receiving the money, property, or other assets that they would have otherwise gotten. This is known in the common law in many states as being an "unworthy heir".

Courts generally treat unworthy heirs as though they were dead, so the gift that they would have gotten generally goes to whoever was named for the remainder (leftovers) of the estate, or to the unworthy heir's own heirs. Who receives the gift instead of the unworthy heir will be determined by the specifics of the case and by the state laws governing the issue.

In this case, the grandparent's wills named their two children as representatives of the estate, but their son was removed after he was convicted of shooting them. The result, based on their wills, is that the man's three children will each receive a portion of the estate and his sister (the couple's other child) will receive assets that did not go through the state probate process.

These issues, like many other in estate planning, are both incredible complex and often emotionally difficult to grapple with. However, it is crucial to make plans as well as backup plans for one's estate in the event of unexpected circumstances that arise after death.

Source: La Crosse Tribune, "Koula's kids to inherit $740K" Anne Jungen, March 28, 2013

Information about estate planning in Florida can be found on our website.

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