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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Murder and the joint account

We've all heard the saying that "crime doesn't pay". The law sets up punishments for criminal behaviour that are above and beyond any jail terms or fines the criminal justice system might impose. For example, if you kill someone, the law says that you can't collect on the person's life insurance policy that names you as a beneficiary.

But what about a situation in which one joint bank account owner kills the other? Would the surviving joint bank account owner be entitled to the whole account? Half of the account? None of the account? This situation is fortunately extremely rare so I was interested to see how the courts would deal with it.

Click here to read an article from lawyer Chris Staples in which he looks at the recent New Brunswick case of Doyle v. Doyle. In this case, the widow of the deceased was charged with murdering her husband but at the time the joint account case was heard, she had not yet been either convicted or exonerated. In this case, the court decided that she was entitled to one-half of the joint bank account because she owned half of it already while her husband was alive.

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