Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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Barring one from illegally profiting from another's estate

Saint Charles residents are encouraged to be transparent in their estate planning. Yet what happens if that transparency puts them in danger. You might dismiss the idea of a beneficiary killing their potential benefactor in order to receive their money to simply be the imaginings of storytellers. Our team here at Stephen A. Martin Attorney at Law can tell you, however, that the potential is real enough that the state has address the issue through legislation. 

One who kills another with the hopes of inheriting their estate is automatically disinherited by law. You may think this goes without saying, as the law is designed to not allow one to profit off the death of another. A guilty verdict in a criminal trial certainly establishes culpability, and that alone should be enough to revoke any beneficiary designations that settlor might have made regarding that person. 

Yet what if there is no such resolution? You may have your suspicions that your family member or friend may have prematurely met their end at the hands of (or under the direction of) another who hoped to inherit their money, yet if no criminal case is pursued, then said person or parties may stand to achieve their purposes. Yet you may still find a way to bar them from profiting off their actions. Section 461.054(c) of Missouri's Revised Statutes states that if you are able to show through a preponderance of evidence that one had a hand in the death of settlor with the intent to inherit their money, that person or party shall be disinherited. The same is true if you can show they used undue influence or duress against the settlor for their own benefit. 

More information on protecting your loved one's interests (even in death) can be found throughout our site. 

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