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The Murder Slayer Rule

Contact Attorney Jason Chan

Attorney Jason Chan

267 North Beacon Street, Suite 3
Boston MA 01235

Phone: 781-343-1DUI (781-343-1384)
Fax: 617-226-7986

Many states have established a form of the slayer rule. The slayer rule has to do with states trying to prevent the murderers from financially benefitting from their actions.  So take this example, a defendant is charged with the murder of his parents.  The defendant is the only child.  The parents who are the victims have a sizeable life insurance policy.  The life insurance policy names the defendant as one of beneficiaries. (picture of a blade taken by Angie)

bladeIf a state has established the murder slayer rule, then the defendant would not be eligible to receive anything under the life insurance policy.  Under most murder slayer rules, the defendant doesn’t need to have been motivated by the life insurance money.  In fact, the defendant doesn’t even need to know that there was a life insurance naming him as a beneficiary.  If it is established that the defendant murdered his parents, then the money from the life insurance will not be released to the defendant. 

Recently, in Pennsylvania a woman was charged with the death of her husband.  The life insurance named the wife as the primary beneficiary.  Pennsylvania has enacted the murder slayer rule and as a result the wife forfeited her right to collect any proceeds.  The son of the victim and defendant was the next in line to collect the life insurance money.  The son intended to use a portion of the life insurance proceeds to pay for a private defense lawyer for the defendant.  When the court found out that the son was going to use the life insurance proceeds to the benefit of the defendant, the court ordered that the life insurance proceeds to be held by the insurance company until the case is resolved.  (Pennsylvania murder slayer rule case

Each state have different rules when it comes to murder.  It will be interesting to see the development of the murder slayer rule.  It is the first time in which Pennsylvania has decided to require the insurance company to freeze the life insurance proceeds to someone other than the defendant under the slayer rule.  

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