2015 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 45a - Probate Courts and Procedure
Chapter 802b - Decedents’ Estates
Section 45a-447 - (Formerly Sec. 45-279). Person adjudged or determined to be guilty of certain crimes ineligible to inherit from or receive property or insurance or annuity proceeds as beneficiary of victim. Action in Superior Court re guilt. Petition to override prohibitions.

CT Gen Stat § 45a-447 (2015) What's This?

(a)(1) A person finally adjudged guilty, either as the principal or accessory, of any crime under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55, 53a-55a, 53a-122, 53a-123 or 53a-321, or in any other jurisdiction, of any crime, the essential elements of which are substantially similar to such crimes, or a person determined to be guilty under any of said sections pursuant to this subdivision, shall not inherit or receive any part of the estate of (A) the deceased victim, whether under the provisions of any act relating to intestate succession, or as devisee or legatee, or otherwise under the will of the deceased victim, or receive any property as beneficiary or survivor of the deceased victim, or (B) any other person when such homicide or death terminated an intermediate estate, or hastened the time of enjoyment. For the purposes of this subdivision, an interested person may bring an action in the Superior Court for a determination, by a preponderance of the evidence, that an heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary of the deceased victim who has predeceased the interested person would have been adjudged guilty, either as the principal or accessory, under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55, 53a-55a, 53a-122, 53a-123 or 53a-321, had the heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary survived.

(2) With respect to inheritance under the will of the deceased victim, or rights to property as heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary of the deceased victim, the person whose participation in the estate of another or whose right to property as such heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary is so prevented under the provisions of this section shall be considered to have predeceased the deceased victim.

(3) With respect to real property owned in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship with the deceased victim, such final adjudication as guilty shall be a severance of the joint tenancy, and shall convert the joint tenancy into a tenancy in common as to the person so adjudged and the deceased victim but not as to any remaining joint tenant or tenants, such severance being effective as of the time such adjudication of guilty becomes final. When such jointly owned property is real property, a certified copy of the final adjudication as guilty shall be recorded by the fiduciary of the deceased victim’s estate, or may be recorded by any other interested party in the land records of the town where such real property is situated.

(4) With respect to personal property owned in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship with the deceased victim, such final adjudication as guilty shall convert the personal property to property owned solely by the deceased victim except to the extent that the adjudged guilty person can prove by a preponderance of the evidence the adjudged guilty person’s financial contributions to such property.

(b) In all other cases where a defendant has been convicted under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55, 53a-55a, 53a-122, 53a-123 or 53a-321, the right of such adjudged guilty person to inherit or take any part of the estate of the deceased victim or to inherit or take any estate as to which the death of such deceased victim terminated an intermediate estate, or hastened the time of enjoyment, or to take any property as beneficiary or survivor of the deceased victim shall be determined by the common law, including equity.

(c) (1) A named beneficiary of a life insurance policy or annuity who intentionally causes the death of the person upon whose life the policy is issued or the annuitant, or who is finally adjudged guilty under section 53a-122, 53a-123 or 53a-321, is not entitled to any benefit under the policy or annuity, and the policy or annuity becomes payable as though such beneficiary had predeceased the deceased victim.

(2) (A) A conviction under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55, 53a-55a, 53a-122, 53a-123 or 53a-321, or a determination pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this subdivision that a named beneficiary would have been found guilty under any of said sections had the named beneficiary survived, shall be conclusive for the purposes of this subsection.

(B) For the purposes of this subsection, an interested person may bring an action in the Superior Court for a determination, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a named beneficiary who has predeceased the interested person would have been found guilty under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55, 53a-55a, 53a-122, 53a-123 or 53a-321 had the named beneficiary survived.

(C) In the absence of such a conviction or determination, the Superior Court may determine by the common law, including equity, whether the named beneficiary is entitled to any benefit under the policy or annuity.

(D) In any proceeding brought under this subsection, the burden of proof shall be upon the person challenging the eligibility of the named beneficiary for benefits under a life insurance policy or annuity.

(3) Any insurance company making payment according to the terms of its policy or annuity is not liable for any additional payment by reason of this section unless it has received at its home office or principal address written notice of a claim under this section prior to such payment.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) to (c), inclusive, of this section, the Superior Court may allow a defendant adjudged guilty under section 53a-122, 53a-123 or 53a-321 to petition a court in equity to override the prohibitions on inheritance or other benefit to the adjudged guilty person under such sections if the court shall determine that overriding such prohibitions would fulfill the intent of the deceased victim or that application of such prohibitions would be grossly inequitable under all of the circumstances, which could include, without limitation, restitution or other substantial benefit provided to the deceased victim during the deceased victim’s lifetime or express forgiveness by the deceased victim. The burden of proof and persuasion shall be upon the petitioner.

(1949 Rev., S. 7062; February, 1965, P.A. 514; 1967, P.A. 264, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 871, S. 118; P.A. 80-476, S. 330; P.A. 83-467; P.A. 85-523, S. 2, 9; P.A. 09-201, S. 1; P.A. 15-236, S. 4.)

History: 1965 act rephrased existing provisions and added Subsec. (b); 1967 act added provisions re rights to property; 1971 act deleted references to “degrees” of murder, i.e. first and second; P.A. 80-476 rephrased provisions and substituted “real property” for “real estate” and “fiduciary” for “executor or administrator”; P.A. 83-467 added Subsec. (c) re distribution of benefits of annuity or life insurance to named beneficiary who intentionally causes death of insured; P.A. 85-523 deleted “murder” and prohibited inheritance by person guilty of any crime under Sec. 53a-54a or 53a-54b, or in any other jurisdiction, of any crime the essential elements of which are substantially similar, and added references to right of heirs, devisees and legatees; Sec. 45-279 transferred to Sec. 45a-447 in 1991; P.A. 09-201 inserted Subdiv. designators (1) to (3) in Subsec. (a) and Subpara. designators (A) to (D) in Subsec. (c)(2), referenced Secs. 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55 and 53a-55a in Subsec. (a)(1), amended Subsecs. (a)(1) and (c)(2) to allow interested person to bring an action in Superior Court for determination that person who predeceased the interested person would have been adjudged guilty under any enumerated section, and made technical changes; P.A. 15-236 amended Subsecs. (a) to (c) to add references to Secs. 53a-122, 53a-123 and 53a-321, added Subsecs. (a)(4) and (d) re personal property inheritance and petitions to override prohibitions, respectively, added references to deceased victim and made technical and conforming changes.

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