The death of Natalie Woods has sparked recent interest.
Ever since her drowning death in 1981, the details of what happened have been somewhat of a mystery.
It was ruled an "accident" at the time.
Now, more than 35 years later, her husband Robert Wagner has again become a “person of interest” in the case.
According to a recent Wealth Advisor article titled “Natalie Wood Estate Back In Play: Did Her Killer Inherit Her Millions?,” this could impact his financial status.
Even though Wagner will not likely face charges, the inheritance he received from Woods could be compromised.
Woods created a will and trust before she died.
Wagner received half of her estate and was named the trustee and the executor of the funds she designated for her daughters.
Her plan allowed her estate to pass tax free.
What is the issue then?
The laws of California could restrict him from inheriting.
The "slayer" statute does not allow those involved in committing felonious murder to benefit from the estate of their victims.
This law would operate to overrule the terms of a will benefiting the slayer of the willmaker.
Will the slayer statute be applied to deny Wagner his inheritance from Natalie Wood?
The estate was probated 36 years ago.
The legitimate heirs—the daughters—would need to sue for unjust enrichment.
All indications are that a lawsuit at this juncture is very unlikely.
The slayer statute will likely have no effect on the now 88-year-old Wagner and the 36-year-old inheritance.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Wealth Advisor (February 11, 2018) “Natalie Wood Estate Back In Play: Did Her Killer Inherit Her Millions?”