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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 [2015] 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.

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Coronavirus: It is ‘Business As Usual’ at Lawson-West

We’ve made plans to continue to deliver the best service during the pandemic and we’re committed to helping clients over the coming weeks and months.

From time to time, we will be posting updates about our business operational response to the implications of the virus on our website and on our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

For now, you can be assured that we are ‘Open for Business’ and here to help you with your legal needs. You can email your regular contact at Lawson-West and we will respond, alternatively, email or continue to browse our website at for more information about our services and how to contact us.

We are driven by our commitment to help others.
We are here. For you.

Lawson-West Directors

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