Honestly, I don't consider this to be a valid concern to my own financial planning, but having had the thought, I just wondered whether there are automatic provisions in law to nullify or remove murderous beneficiaries, or if one would have to add specific exemption clauses.

Suggestions for the wording of such a clause would also be appreciated

  • 6
    Are you going to murder or fear being murdered :) ?
    – DumbCoder
    Dec 20, 2010 at 17:01
  • Dumbcoder: I'd be more worried if the heading read, "Do I still get the dosh if I torch the gaff with everyone in it?" :P
    – gef05
    Dec 21, 2010 at 0:52
  • 3
    +1 for helping me learn a new phrase "slayer rules". Now, to find a way to use it in ordinary conversation tomorrow! Dec 21, 2010 at 4:55
  • @DumbCoder - neither, the question just occurred to me!
    – Andrew
    Dec 21, 2010 at 15:18
  • @duffbeer703 I heard the phrase "Slayer rules!" quite a bit in high school in the 80s. :D
    – Chelonian
    Jan 31, 2012 at 21:48

3 Answers 3


I had to look.

Murderers, beneficiaries, common law, and statutes:


Note that slayer rules are common law (inheritance) and require a lesser degree of proof to deny the slayer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slayer_rule

Re the ruling of a clause - as it's written into common law you don't need to do anything: http://www.deathandtaxesblog.com/2005/04/more_on_slayer_statutes.html

Bottom line: In all likelihood, the killer gets nothing. Although, depending upon the US state and how good their attorney is - you just never know.


It appears there is 'protection' under UK law, but I've been unable to find any further information.

From a BBC News Article (2003)..

The law says their son could not receive anything because he had carried out [their] murder.

And another from the Daily Mail (2006)..

Currently people convicted of murder or manslaughter cannot inherit from their victims


I believe this is the same as life insurance. If you kill the person / have them killed, you don't get the insurance payout / benefits from the will.

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