The slayer rule in Washington State and Federal Law holds that someone who willfully and unlawfully caused the death of another cannot inherit under a will, trust, or as the beneficiary under a life insurance policy or other non-probate asset. In this case the deceased had a long history of committing domestic violence against her partner and the jury found that her death resulted from hitting her head after being pushed by her partner. The jury also found that the push was an act of self-defense. The court distinguished self-defense from a finding of not-guilty by reason of insanity which it found did not protect a killer from the affects of the slayer rule. The court held the an act of self-defense is not illegal and therefore the slayer rule does not apply.
If you have questions about the slayer rule or other issues in a probate or transfer of non-probate assets, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 459-1908.