Who inherits if a husband is responsible for his wife’s death?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Who inherits if a husband is responsible for his wife’s death?

My mother died 8 months ago. She was abused, starved and neglected by her husband, my stepfather. When she died, his health quickly declined and he passed 5 months later. The day he died, I found out that the county attorney declined to press charges because of his health. He killed my mother and I have the police report, however since she died first, my sister, grandchildren, and I get nothing. What are my options? Does he get to murder my mother and his kids get the estate?

Asked on January 15, 2018 under Estate Planning, Arizona


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your Mother's death and the situation.  Most states have what is called the "slayer" statute that prevents a person that causes the death of another from inheriting their estate.  You need to find an attorney and contest the Will ASAP.  You need to ask the court void his Will and hers if need be or create a "constructive trust" on his estate for your benefit or treat the matter as if she died intestate without a spouse.  Then you and your sister will inherit her estate. Because he was not convicted of the crime you are going to have tp ask the court to make that determination based upon the evidence you have.  It is a lesser burden of proof than in a criminal court.  Seek help.  Good luck.

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