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Family invoking slayer rule during probate administration

In Oklahoma, when a family member dies suddenly, it is often under tragic circumstances. When several family members perish at the same time and a fortune is at stake, it may be under suspicious circumstances. The sisters of a deceased woman in another state have their suspicions about their nephew, the last person to see his mother and grandfather alive, who is next in line to inherit a portion of a $40 million estate now in probate administration. They have petitioned the probate court to bar the young man from receiving any of the assets.

In 2013, the man's grandfather was found shot three times in his bed. While police suspected the 20-year-old grandson of the killing, no arrest had been made three years later when the grandson took his mother deep-sea fishing. Seven days later, the woman's son was rescued from an emergency raft, but his mother was never found. The man's story of the events that caused his boat to sink did not add up to investigators.

Following the death of his grandfather and mother, the man stood to inherit $400,000 from a bank account that the three had owned jointly, millions of dollars from his mother's dynasty trust and his mother's portion of the grandfather's estate. The missing woman's sisters are not interested in the money and vow to give it to charity. They simply do not want the man to inherit the fortune if he is responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.

The sisters in this case have petitioned the court to consider the slayer rule during probate administration. This common law legal action prevents an heir from claiming an inheritance from someone he or she has killed. While this is a complex matter, especially if the suspect has not been convicted of a crime, having legal support for filing such a petition in an Oklahoma court may improve the chances of its success.

Source:, "Linda Carman's Sisters Ask Court To Declare Nathan Carman Their Father's Murderer", Davew Altimari, July 17, 2017

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