The daughter of a murdered woman is reportedly set to inherit millions from a trust fund, despite being imprisoned as an accessory to the killing.
The price of murder
In July 2016, the body of a 58-year-old woman was found in a suitcase, floating on the Swan River in Mosman Park. A Court ruled that the woman was beaten and murdered by her daughter’s father, while her daughter covered up the killing. The man allegedly responsible for the murder is currently serving a life sentence, with a minimum of 20 years, while the daughter was given a four year, 10 month sentence.
Despite this conviction, it’s reported that the daughter may be able to access a multi-million trust fund that had been set up by her mother before she was murdered. Though the victim died intestate, she had appointed her daughter as a beneficiary for the trust fund, which is said to hold property and land.
Can a murderer benefit from their victims estate?
There is common law put in place that means if a person murders a person who they are a beneficiary of, they can’t inherit from their estate. This is in action to stop beneficiaries from committing murder for financial gain. However, if the murder is proven in court to have been committed as the result of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, they may still be able to benefit from the estate. In New South Wales, there is legislation that allows family of the murdered to dispute an award of estate if it has been given to a person who murdered under a mental illness.
Section 11 of the Forfeiture Act 1995 (NSW) allows for an application to the Supreme Court for a forfeiture order, which revokes any award of estate to a person who committed murder, even under mental illness. In order for this to be awarded, the Court must investigate:
- The behaviour of the offender.
- How revoking the award would impact the offender.
- The nature of the relationship between the offender and the victim.
If the Court agrees with the forfeiture, this is applied across all aspects of the estate that was left to the offender.
When contesting the division of an estate, it’s essential to reach out to the expert legal team at Gerard Malouf and Partners Will Disputes Lawyers to assist with your claim. With a 90-day complimentary trial of our legal services, we’re dedicated to helping our clients through the claims process for a favourable outcome.