Insanity and the Slayer Statute (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick In the case of Dougherty v Cole, Jr. the Defendant was convicted of first degree murder of his mother, by reason of insanity. His sister filed a petition to bar him from taking property under mother's estate per Slayer Statute, and filed wrongful death action against him. Slayer Statute contains no exception for mental illness, thus Defendant's conduct excluded him from inheriting from the mother's estate. A beneficiary's intentional and unjustifiable causing of death, regardless of criminality of the act, is sufficient to bar inheritance.