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Substitute Senate Bill No. 1031

Public Act No. 09-201

AN ACT CONCERNING MURDER AND INHERITANCE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 45a-447 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2009):

(a) (1) A person finally adjudged guilty, either as the principal or accessory, of any crime under section 53a-54a, [or] 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55 or 53a-55a, or in any other jurisdiction, of any crime, the essential elements of which are substantially similar to such crimes, or a person determined to be guilty under any of said sections pursuant to this subdivision, shall not inherit or receive any part of the estate of (A) the deceased, whether under the provisions of any act relating to intestate succession, or as devisee or legatee, or otherwise under the will of the deceased, or receive any property as beneficiary or survivor of the deceased, [; and such person shall not inherit or receive any part of the estate of] or (B) any other person when such homicide or death terminated an intermediate estate, or hastened the time of enjoyment. For the purposes of this subdivision, an interested person may bring an action in the Superior Court for a determination, by a preponderance of the evidence, that an heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary of the deceased who has predeceased the interested person would have been adjudged guilty, either as the principal or accessory, under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55 or 53a-55a had the heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary survived.

(2) With respect to inheritance under the will of the deceased, or rights to property as heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary of the deceased, the person whose participation in the estate of another or whose right to property as such heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary is so prevented under the provisions of this section shall be considered to have predeceased the person killed.

(3) With respect to property owned in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship with the deceased, such final adjudication as guilty shall be a severance of the joint tenancy, and shall convert the joint tenancy into a tenancy in common as to the person so adjudged and the deceased but not as to any remaining joint tenant or tenants, such severance being effective as of the time such adjudication of guilty becomes final. When such jointly owned property is real property, a certified copy of the final adjudication as guilty shall be recorded by the fiduciary of the deceased's estate, or may be recorded by any other interested party in the land records of the town where such real property is situated.

(b) In all other cases where a defendant has been convicted of killing another person, the right of such defendant to inherit or take any part of the estate of the person killed or to inherit or take any estate as to which such homicide terminated an intermediate estate, or hastened the time of enjoyment, or to take any property as beneficiary or survivor of the deceased shall be determined by the common law, including equity.

(c) (1) A named beneficiary of a life insurance policy or annuity who intentionally causes the death of the person upon whose life the policy is issued or the annuitant, is not entitled to any benefit under the policy or annuity, and the policy or annuity becomes payable as though such beneficiary had predeceased the decedent.

(2) (A) A conviction under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55 or 53a-55a, or a determination pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this subdivision that a named beneficiary would have been found guilty under any of said sections had the named beneficiary survived, shall be conclusive for the purposes of this subsection.

(B) For the purposes of this subsection, an interested person may bring an action in the Superior Court for a determination, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a named beneficiary who has predeceased the interested person would have been found guilty under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55 or 53a-55a had the named beneficiary survived.

(C) In the absence of such a conviction or determination, the Superior Court may determine by the common law, including equity, whether the named beneficiary is entitled to any benefit under the policy or annuity.

(D) In any proceeding brought under this subsection, the burden of proof shall be upon the person challenging the eligibility of the named beneficiary for benefits under a life insurance policy or annuity.

(3) Any insurance company making payment according to the terms of its policy or annuity is not liable for any additional payment by reason of this section unless it has received at its home office or principal address written notice of a claim under this section prior to such payment.

Approved July 8, 2009