Can B.B. King’s Manager Still Inherit From His Estate If She Poisoned Him?

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As fans continue to reel from the passing of renowned blues guitarist B.B. King, the “King of Blues” family members are disputing his estate in court.

B.B. King’s family filed a family court suit prior to his passing, claiming that King was receiving inadequate care and that over one million dollars was missing from his bank accounts. Moreover, the family accused King’s longtime manager, Laverne Toney, of this alleged elder abuse; at the time, Toney had Power of Attorney for B.B. King.

Currently, the family is accusing Toney of poisoning King to death. As King’s Executrix, Toney can receive fees for her work. Toney is also suspected of being a beneficiary of King’s Will.

On the other hand, B.B. King’s family members are claiming that Laverne Toney is a “Slayer”; a person who murders a loved one in order to inherit under the victim’s estate.

If Toney did murder the legendary B.B. King, can she still act as Executor? Can she still inherit under his Will?

In one of the first cases of this kind, the New York Riggs v Palmer case, a grandson murdered his grandfather and tried to keep his grandfather’s inheritance; the court definitively decided that Slayers cannot inherit from their victim’s estate. In New Jersey, Slayers are treated as if they predeceased the victim. In this way, an inheritance can still pass to the Slayer’s innocent children and heirs, but not to the Slayer himself.

Though the verdict isn’t out as to whether Toney murdered the celebrated B.B. King, it is not uncommon for family members to think a caregiver murdered their loved one. When families have strong evidence to suspect foul play, a criminal case is started so that a police investigation and coroner’s autopsy can commence. Additionally, families retain estate planning attorneys to assist them with the execution of the will, or an administration of the estate if there is no will.

If you have Wills, Trust or general estate planning questions in New Jersey or New York, please feel free to call us at (908) 236-6457 or email alec@bmcestateplanning.com.

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