Is it possible to lose an inheritance if you don't properly look after a loved one?
It is well established under common law in Ontario that a person is barred from benefitting from his or her own crime. The rule is grounded in public policy and is sometimes known, in Canada, as the “Forfeiture Rule”. The legal cases suggest that a criminal conviction is not necessarily a requirement before the Forfeiture Rule would be applied. The rule has been applied in various situations to disqualify people who would otherwise be beneficiaries of life insurance proceeds, benefits under a Will or an intestacy. Moreover, courts in Canada have applied the rule not only in cases of murder, but also in cases of manslaughter, and failing to provide the necessities of life. The necessities of life refer to things that are necessary to preserve life, and could include food, shelter, medical attention and protection from harm. The Criminal Code of Canada makes it an offence if one fails to provide necessities of life to someone in his or her charge who is unable to withdraw from that charge by reason of age or illness and is unable to provide necessities for himself or herself. In one case, a husband was disqualified from inheriting under his wife’s estate when he failed to call an ambulance after his wife tried to commit suicide. As in most civil cases, the application of the rule largely turns on the facts of each specific case.