The Old Rule of ‘Forfeiture’
The well- known rule of forfeiture states that if you are responsible for the murder or manslaughter of a person, you cannot benefit from their estate.
This is based on public policy that a criminal should not be able to benefit from their crime, and was upheld in the recent case of Henderson v Wilcox  EWHC 3469 (Ch). In this case, a son who suffered from mental health problems attacked and killed his elderly mother. He then applied for relief from forfeiture i.e., he wished for exceptions to the rule to be made so he could benefit from his mother’s estate. In order to consider whether the forfeiture rule can be modified the court must look at all the material circumstances, namely the parties’ behaviour, intentions and conduct. Due to the brutality of the attack and the fact that the son had some understanding, the Judge held that the forfeiture rule would not be amended and consequently the son would not benefit from the estate.
If you would like information on excluding certain members of your family from your Will or wish to contest a Will, please contact Andrea Jones at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000.View all