Forfeiture Rule, Does Not Apply to Woman who Accidentally Killed Husband

It is a general principle of English and Welsh Law, that anybody who kills a person cannot benefit from their estate.

Mrs Sandra Amos 74, has successfully inherited her husband’s estate, contesting her stepdaughter’s case for forfeiture, after she accidentally killed her husband in a car crash.

Mrs Amos was driving herself and her husband in January 2019. On the way to the destination, Mrs Amos was involved in a road accident, collision which resulted in her driving into the back of a queue of stationary vehicles.

As a result of this collision, her husband suffered traumatic injuries and sadly died in hospital later that day.

Subsequently, Mrs Amos was charged in causing her husbands death by careless driving. The charge she later pleaded guilty, and she received a suspended prison sentence for.

Mrs Amos was due to inherit her husband’s estate, however her stepdaughter, and two other family members contested this. They felt Mrs Amos should be disqualified from inheriting the estate under the ‘UK Forfeiture Act 1982’. This Act prevents somebody who has killed another person, to benefit from his or her death.

The ‘UK Forteture Act 1982’ was initially applied in the Courts for murder and manslaughter. Causing death by dangerous driving was a late edition to the statute books.

Those representing Mrs Amos, told the England and Wales High Court that Mrs Amos had unlawfully killed her husband, but shouldn’t have Forfeiture Rule applied, as this was not done intentionally or deliberately.

His Honour, Justice Jarman considered the case, and decided that not allowing Mrs Amos not to have her inheritance would be ‘significantly out of proportion’ to her own fault.

He exercised the discretion allowed in Section Two of the UK Forfeiture Act 1982, to modify the rule, allowing Mrs Amos to take her inheritance.

(Amos v Mancini 2020 EWHC 1063 Ch)

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