November 29, 2022

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Florida Slayer Statute Does Not Require a Murder Conviction To Apply

The Florida slayer statute bars someone from inheriting from an individual they murdered. In Pacific Daily life v. Perez, the United States District Court docket, Middle District of Florida, dominated that in the absence of a conviction of murder in any diploma, the court docket may figure out by the greater bodyweight of the proof whether or not the killing was unlawful and intentional.

What Is the Florida Slayer Statute?

Beneath the Florida Slayer Statute, a beneficiary to a existence insurance coverage policy who unlawfully and intentionally kills the insured is not entitled to any benefit beneath the plan and it will become payable as nevertheless the killer experienced predeceased the decedent.

The Florida Slayer Statute is codified in segment 732.802, Fla. Stat., which states (as to lifestyle insurance policy procedures, appropriate to this circumstance):

(3) A named beneficiary of a bond, lifetime insurance policy policy, or other contractual arrangement who unlawfully and deliberately kills the principal obligee or the particular person upon whose lifetime the policy is issued is not entitled to any benefit less than the bond, plan, or other contractual arrangement and it gets payable as though the killer experienced predeceased the decedent.

We have penned about Florida slayer statute cases here, below, right here, and in this article.

The Specifics of Pacific Daily life v. Perez

In this situation, Pacific Life Coverage Corporation filed an interpleader motion about a lifetime insurance policies plan they issued to Decedent Joaquin Perez.  The policy identified Decedent’s son and daughter as the principal beneficiaries, with each individual acquiring 50% of the share of the $250,000 dying advantage.  Pacific Lifestyle paid out Decedent’s daughter Cristina&#8217s share.  The remaining 50% was the topic of the dispute.

Decedent was shot to demise.  Decedent’s son, Matthew, was billed with initially-diploma murder.

Cristina submitted a crossclaim from Matthew in the interpleader motion asserting a claim to the dying reward allocated to him.  She claimed that Matthew unlawfully and deliberately killed decedent and for that reason was not entitled to the remaining 50% of the demise benefit.  The Coverage supplies that, if the beneficiary predeceased the insured, the total payable will be the full demise benefits to the surviving single beneficiary.

Cristina received a clerk’s default and moved for a default last judgment from Matthew  premised on Matthew’s default and failure to file any claim to the dying added benefits.  The Court docket denied the motion with out prejudice mainly because the file was inadequate to create Cristina’s entitlement to the demise positive aspects underneath the Florida Slayer Statute.  Cristina renewed her motion for default judgment.

In aid of the renewed motion Cristina filed a declaration and a copy of the possible cause affidavit and visual appeal variety.  The proof reflected the adhering to:

Matthew admitted to capturing and killing his father, the Decedent, with a shotgun due to the fact he felt unsafe that his father was “changing the locks.” Matthew also said that he was upset that his father had woken him up that working day, and he informed his father that he was a felon for the reason that he was “threatening him” and that he desired to die. Matthew obviously mentioned to the arresting officer that he deliberately killed his father In addition, the arresting officer observed in the Affidavit that Matthew did not point out that his father threatened him, provoked him, was violent, or did something else to justify Matthew’s actions.

An Illegal and Intentional Killing Triggers the Florida Slayer Statute – No Murder Conviction Essential

A murder conviction is not needed to trigger the application of the Florida Slayer Statute:

The Court docket concludes that the proof establishes Matthew unlawfully and intentionally killed his father. Notably, it is of no import that Matthew was ultimately discovered not responsible by explanation of madness simply because the Slayer Statute supplies that “[i]n the absence of a conviction of murder in any diploma, the courtroom may possibly decide by the bigger pounds of the evidence no matter whether the killing was unlawful and intentional.” Fla. Stat. § 732.802(5).

Also, for applications of the Slayer Statute, the killing can be thought of intentional and unlawful inspite of a obtaining of prison insanity. See Congleton v. Sansom, 664 So. 2d 276 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995). Notably, in Congleton, a husband strangled his spouse to dying. He was charged with murder but was adjudicated not guilty by explanation of madness, hardly ever having gone to demo. The Slayer Statute was even now applicable in the probate proceeding, even however the partner was by no means criminally convicted. Notably, the Court docket underscores that Matthew’s default in this motion serves as his admission of the cross claim’s nicely-pled allegations, which involve that he deliberately and unlawfully killed the Decedent.

Cristina was viewed as the single surviving beneficiary pursuant to the Florida Slayer Statute and the language of the insurance coverage coverage.