The wrongdoer cannot profit: a case of intestacy
Reasons for judgement were released last week in the case Re Fenotti Estate.
In 2012, the deceased passed away. The same day, one of the adult children was arrested for apparent murder of the deceased, and later pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder. The adult child was sentenced.
There were three other surviving siblings. The deceased left no Will. A person was found in 2013 to act as administrator of the Estate, and he applied to the Court for directions as to distributing the Estate.
In ordinary circumstances, under the rules of intestacy, the surviving adult children would inherit the Estate in equal shares.
Here, however, the Court (referring to a line of B.C. case law) held that a person cannot profit from their wrongs, and therefore the adult child who pleaded guilty to the crime was precluded from inheriting.
The other three adult children received the entire Estate, in equal shares.
In these difficult situations, one question that arises is whether the rule applies in a non-criminal case. That is, whether the rule would apply in a case where a beneficiary committed a civil wrong.
Hopefully, the situation will never arise. But it isn’t clear if the rule would apply.
This ad ran in the Richmond Review on August 22, 2014.