Justin Ross Harris, father and Georgia resident who was accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son, Cooper, to die inside a hot car for several hours, has been instructing his family to claim his son’s two life insurance policies – each totaling out to 27,000 dollars.
The question regarding Cooper’s two life insurance policies is still in play. Will his family still get the proceeds from his policies? Not likely.
A jury in Georgia ultimately found Harris guilty of murder in the 2014 death of his son, Cooper. He was accused of intentionally locking his baby son inside a hot car for seven hours. In addition to three counts of murder, Harris was found guilty of two counts of cruelty to children three counts relating to his sexting of lewd material with two underage girls.
“This is one of those occasions where actions speak louder than words,” Cobb County Assistant District Attorney Chuck Boring said after the verdict. “He has malice in his heart, absolutely.”
In most cases, it will be investigated until a conviction is secured. Even if someone is not charged with a crime, the insurer does not have to pay out. If there is strong evidence of neglect and this type of conduct caused the death of the insured, the company can deny paying the beneficiary.
According to the slayer rule, a murderer cannot retain a property interest in his victim’s estate and has the effect of disqualifying the murderer from receiving property from the estate of the victim.
Slayer statutes, as they are called, have been established in 41 states but specific details vary from state-to-state. In addition, states also have the first year or two of contestability in which the policy was purchased to investigate any problems of misrepresentation.
For instance, the state of Georgia gives two years to contest and evaluate concerns.
However, if there is a second beneficiary – known as a contingent – that is not involved in the neglect, the life insurance proceeds can be given to that individual. Sometimes insurance companies will petition the court to decide who will get the death benefit when several people may be involved in a plot to hurt the insured.
According to insurance experts, purchasing children’s life insurance is not that common, as death benefits usually range from 5,000 to 10,000 dollars in benefits – generally enough for funeral costs. Sometimes it will be used as a cash advance for children over time as a saving vehicle, but that typically is not a popular purchase.