Brief Fact Summary. Appellant was convicted of manslaughter for the death of her husband, and appeals from a decree, wherein the probate court determined appellant was not entitled to a share of her deceased husband’s estate.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Legal title passes to the slayer but equity holds him to be a constructive trustee for the heirs or next of kin of the decedent.
No one shall be permitted to profit by his own fraud, or to take advantage of his own wrong, or to found any claim upon his own iniquity, or to acquire property by his own crime.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether a widow convicted of manslaughter in connection with the death of her husband can inherit from his estate?
Held. Yes. Decree reversed and cause remanded.
The judgment issued by the probate court decreed the estate directly to the parents of the decedent and failed to decree it to the appellant, as constructive trustee, which was in direct contravention of the statutes of descent and distribution.
Discussion. The principle that one shouldn’t be able to profit thru their wrong must not be extended to every case in which a killer acquires property from his victim as a result of the killing.