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Will Slayer Rule Prevail in Missouri?

| Jun 29, 2015 | Uncategorized |

An argument is being made that the “slayer” rule – which says you can’t murder someone and then inherit their money – be extended to lengths never seen in Missouri.

Missouri prosecutors allege that in 2010 Kansas City attorney Susan Van Note entered her wealthy father’s lakefront home, then attacked him and his girlfriend Sharon Dickson. Sharon died at the scene, and the father was transferred to a hospital.

Van Note arrived at the hospital with a Health Care Power of Attorney, which prosecutors allege was forged, and ordered the doctors to take her father off of life support.

He passed away four days later.

You can read more about the bizarre twists and turns of this case in a recent Kansas City Star article titled “Susan Van Note probate case is as curious as the murder case.”

The prosecution’s theory is that Van Note murdered her father and his girlfriend because he had made Dickson the primary beneficiary of his will.

Nevertheless, Susan Van Note had been appointed as the personal representative of her father’s will. Thus, for two years, she was in charge of her father’s estate at which point she was indicted for the murders and removed as the personal representative.

Now, in the probate case, Van Note argues that since her father’s will had no backup plan and the fact that Dickson predeceased him, the rules of intestate succession should apply. Consequently, she would be the sole heir to her father’s estate.

However, Dickson, had an adult son from a previous marriage. He is asking the court to apply the slayer rule, exclude Van Note and her heirs, and make him the beneficiary of the estate.

If Dickson’s son prevails, this would be extending the slayer rule further that it ever has been extended in Missouri.

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