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Will contest, Action to impose trust due to Slayer's rule; Wrongful Death, and Interpleader of life insurance proceeds

Case Conclusion Date: 12.13.2012

Practice Area: Litigation

Outcome: Extensive litigation followed by successful mediations and settlements.

Description: In summer of 2009 a local eye doctor charged with criminal fraud, killed his wife, and then himself. We represented the natural heir of the victim-wife and her estate, and sued the husband's estate for wrongful death, to contest a bogus will, and remove an improper executor; and also to impose a constructive trust over the estate and life insurance proceeds under the "Slayer's Rule" that prohibits a murderer from profiting from a homicide. The PR was immediately replaced with an agreed "Special Representative" and in an exceptional ruling by he judge, a "Special Master" was appointed to assist the court in the complex legal and factual issues raised by the circumstances. Extensive litigation, discovery, and motion practice occurred, including settlement by the husband's estate of a federal criminal asset forfeiture action on terms agreed by all parties; assets were liquidated and a successful mediation was had among the heirs vindicating the position of the wife's estate. In the winding up phase of the husband's estate, wife's estate lawyers lodged objections against "big law" firm for an excessive legal fee claim, which was resolved by another successful mediation and favorable terms. Wife's estate received all expected funds and assets under settlement agreements and was finally closed December 2012.

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