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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 October, 2003, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Call for inheritance law reform
Grandchildren will be protected

The grandchildren of murder victims may soon be able to inherit money even if their parents were the guilty parties.

The Law Commission for England and Wales is planning to iron out a legal loophole which affects the children of people who kill their parents.

The call comes after the son of a man who murdered his parents in 1993 was denied his inheritance.

The grandparents of the child had not made a will when they were killed, which meant their property had to be distributed under intestacy rules.

The law says their son could not receive anything because he had carried out the murder.

But under the current laws, their grandson cannot inherit the money either.
At present the law is just too sweeping. It seems inherently unfair
Simon Tabbush
Law Commission lawyer

Legislation says in such cases the children cannot benefit if the grandparents were murdered by either of the children's parents.

In 2000 a Court of Appeal judge ruled any inheritance should go to the surviving sister of the murdered man and his wife's nephew and niece.

Law Commission team lawyer Simon Tabbush said: "At present the law is just too sweeping.

"It has the effect of punishing innocent grandchildren by permanently cutting them out of the scheme of inheritance because of their parent's wrongdoing.

"This seems inherently unfair."

The Law Commission, which reviews the law and makes recommendations to Parliament, says grandparents would expect grandchildren to come before brothers and sisters in the event of their children being disqualified.

A similar change in inheritance laws was made in France last year.


SEE ALSO:
Die without a will?
17 Sep 03  |  Business
Giving money to grandchildren
17 Sep 03  |  Business


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