The Law Office of Mark S. Humphreys, P.C. was able to get a settlement in a life insurance case recently that was not a normal situation.
Texas has a law referred to as the “Slayer Statute.” This law which is found in the Texas Insurance Code, Section 1103.151, states that if a person named as the beneficiary in a life insurance policy intentionally causes the death of the insured, then that beneficiary is excluded from recovery of the life insurance benefits. If this happens then according to Texas Insurance Code, Section 1103.152, the life insurance benefits then go to the next person entitled to the proceeds of the policy.
Mark represented the daughter of the insured.
In this case the beneficiary was the wife of the insured. The wife shot and killed the insured, her husband. The wife was arrested but later released based on assertion that her husband was being violent and assaulting her. In other words she was claiming the shooting was justified as an act of self-defense. The evidence obtained by the police seemed to indicate an intentional homicide rather than an act of defense, which is why the policy arrested her. Mark sued the insurance company for the life insurance benefits and the wife asserting that the wife had violated the Slayer Statute. The wife gave up when Mark requested to take her deposition concerning the shooting. The wife did not want to risk saying something that would have resulted in her re-arrest and being charged with murder. Mark’s client recovered the insurance proceeds that the life insurance company had pleaded into the registry of the Court.
It should be pointed out that for a person to forfeit their rights to life insurance proceeds under the Slayer Statute, the person must intend to kill the insured. In other words, killing the insured unintentionally or by accident, or even as an act of self-defense, does not trigger the forfeiture of the life insurance proceeds. As another example, being convicted of the crime of “manslaughter” or “negligent homicide” does not automatically divest a person of the right to the insurance proceeds.