PA 09-201—sSB 1031

Judiciary Committee

Insurance and Real Estate Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING MURDER AND INHERITANCE

SUMMARY: This act expands the circumstances under which a person cannot inherit, receive part of the estate, or receive life insurance or annuity benefits from someone for whose death he or she was responsible.

By law, a murderer cannot inherit or receive part of the estate from (1) the victim or (2) another person if the homicide or death terminated an intermediate estate or hastened the time of enjoyment. This applies if the person is finally adjudged guilty as a principal or accessory of murder or capital felony in Connecticut or for a similar crime in another jurisdiction. The act also excludes someone (1) convicted as a principal or accessory of felony murder, arson murder, 1st degree manslaughter with or without a firearm, or a similar crime in another jurisdiction or (2) who would have been found guilty of one of these offenses under Connecticut law if he or she had survived, as determined by the Superior Court by a preponderance of the evidence in an action brought by an interested person.

The law prohibits a named beneficiary on an insurance policy or annuity from receiving any benefits if he or she intentionally caused the death of the person who is the subject of the policy or annuity. The law excludes someone if convicted of murder, capital felony, felony murder, arson murder, 1st degree manslaughter, or 1st degree manslaughter with a firearm. The act allows an interested party to bring an action in Superior Court to determine by a preponderance of the evidence that a beneficiary who predeceased the interested person would have been found guilty of one of these crimes.

The law already allowed the Superior Court to make a determination in the absence of a conviction based on the common law, including equity, that the person is not entitled to benefits. The act allows the Superior Court to make this determination only when there is no conviction or action brought by an interested party. For the Superior Court proceeding under this law, the person challenging entitlement has the burden of proof. The act applies this as well to proceedings brought by an interested party.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

OLR Tracking: CR: KM: SS: ts