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THE KILLER GETS NOTHING FROM THE ESTATE

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d be familiar with the biggest news story coming out of Idaho recently. This has to do with Chad Daybell and his new wife Lori Vallow. In addition to the two missing children, several mysterious deaths surround these two individuals including the death of Chad Daybell’s first wife Tammy. Though no details have been released to the public yet, Tammy Daybell’s body has been exhumed so that additional tests can be done to determine whether or not her death was due to natural causes as claimed by Chad.

Without getting into all the details having to do with Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell, and the missing children, we will simply focus on what will happen under Idaho’s inheritance laws if it is determined that Chad Daybell played a role in Tammy’ death.

Idaho has adopted what the public likes to refer to as the Slayer statute. This is found under Idaho Code § 15-2-803. This statute defines a “slayer” as any person who participates, either as principal or as an accessory before the fact, in the wilful and unlawful killing of any other person. According to the statute, “No slayer shall in any way acquire any property or receive any benefit as a result of the death of the decedent, but such property shall pass as provided in the sections following.”

Court records have revealed that Chad Daybell received at least $430,000 in life insurance proceeds upon the death of his first wife Tammy. Additionally, he would also have received all of the estate property and belongings of Tammy because he is the surviving spouse.

So, what will happen if it is determined through an investigation and court proceedings that Chad played a role as a slayer in the death of his first wife Tammy? According to these same statutes, “The slayer shall be deemed to have predeceased the decedent as to property which would have passed from the decedent or his estate to the slayer . . ..” Under this statute it doesn’t matter whether Tammy had a written Will or not. Any property that would normally have passed to Chad will then pass to Tammy’s children instead because Chad will be treated as if he died before Tammy.

Life insurance is similar. According to the statute, “Insurance proceeds payable to the slayer as the beneficiary or assignee of any policy or certificate of insurance on the life of the decedent, or as the survivor of a joint life policy, shall be paid instead to the estate of the decedent, unless the policy or certificate designate some person other than the slayer or his estate as secondary beneficiary to him and in which case such proceeds shall be paid to such secondary beneficiary in accordance with the applicable terms of the policy.”

It will be interesting to see what the evidence proves and what actions, if any, are taken by Tammy’s estate and the insurance companies involved. Stay tuned.

ENLIST AN IDAHO ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY TO HELP YOU

If you have any questions about your estate or how to simplify your plans for your family and loved ones, we can help.  Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Pocatello. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lane@racineolson.com. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Pocatello Estate Planning problems. I have helped numerous clients create their own customized estate plans and I’m confident that I can help you too.

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