Children of murderers – inheritance simplified

Posted: 21st December 2011

In England and Wales, the law prevents a person who unlawfully kills another person (or a person who ‘aids, abets counsels or procures the death of another’) from benefiting from their crime – so a person convicted of murdering their spouse, for example, cannot inherit their estate or the proceeds of a life assurance policy in their name.
However, the practical impact of the legislation can create some undesirable effects, especially relating to the entitlement of the children of the victim, so the Government is amending the law so that the person who has committed the offence is treated for inheritance purposes as if they died immediately before the person they have killed.
In addition, the children of the perpetrator will normally be able to inherit their parent’s interest in an intestate estate (i.e. where there is no will).
The new law will come into force on 1 February 2012.