Thomas Gilbert Jr. is accused of murdering his own father, a wealthy New York hedge fund founder who was fatally shot earlier this month. Could Gilbert inherit some of the fortune of the man he is accused of killing?
Under the terms of his father's estate plan, Thomas Gilbert Jr. is set to inherit a small fortune now that his father has passed away. The only problem is, he is being accused of his father's murder.
In this high-profile case the government contends that Jr. shot his father in the head a month ago. This prompted the Washington Post to wonder whether the son could inherit from the father in an article titled "Thomas Gilbert Jr. is accused of killing his own father. Can he collect an inheritance?"
The author of the article poses this question to law professors. Unfortunately, the professor made the answer to the question even more complicated than it needs to be.
The simple answer is this: if Gilbert Jr. is convicted of murder, then he cannot inherit from his father.
You cannot receive an inheritance from someone you intentionally killed. However, if the death is ruled accidental or if Gilbert Jr. is found not guilty, then he could very well inherit from his deceased father.
While these circumstances often make for interesting plot lines, in reality this is one area where the law is very clear.
Reference: Washington Post (January 15, 2015) "Thomas Gilbert Jr. is accused of killing his own father. Can he collect an inheritance?"