There are times when the work of Parliament has very wide ranging and important effects despite not being widely reported. Such a case occurred yesterday when I spoke in the House in favour of a Bill introduced by the Rt. Hon Greg Knight the Member of Parliament for East Yorkshire. Having been drawn fifth in the ballot for private members bills Mr Knight used the opportunity to introduce a Bill to change the law relating to the law of succession. At the moment if a child murders their parent/s leaving a child surviving then not only can the murderer not benefit from the murdered parents estate (due to the application of the rule that a criminal should not profit from their crime) but also any child or children of the murderer are also unable to benefit from their grandparents estate. The children are being punished for the sins of their parent. This is because of the way the current law is drafted. A similar problem arises if a parent disclaims an entitlement. The proposed new law would remedy this problem by introducing the assumption that the parent predeceased the deceased and after a debate in the Commons yesterday the Bill was given an unopposed Second Reading and it will now be examined in detail at the Committee Stage and I have agreed to serve on the Committee that will examine this Bill.
5 thoughts on “Succession”
With respect your description of this bill as work having “very wide ranging and important effects” is pure hyperbole. It is very narrow and has no effect for 99.99% of the population.
For pity’s sake! Is this really a good use of precious parliamentary time? How many parents are murdered each year and how many children are affected by this? The only numbers I’ve seen are for 1994 where 9 matricides are mentioned and a reference to a similar number of patricides. Of those how many may have involved succession issues is only a guess, but precious few.
Your manifesto contained a promise to remove inheritance tax from the very rich, which involved a few hundred people. Now you are fighting for the inhertance rights of one or two!
Thank-you for your comment Mr Arthur,
With respect, you are mistaken. Not only did the bill cover the cases of matricide and patricide but also the cases where a son or daughter voluntarily disclaims their right to entitlement under an intestacy or a Will and there is no way of knowing how many times a year this happens . In any event I would argue that if there is a aproblem with the law which has been identified by the Courts and the solution has been proposed by the Law Commission it is the job of Parliament to try and rectify matters. I should add that sponsors of the Bill came from all three main parties.
The circumstances are somewhat similar to those involving compensation to the families of Derrick Bird’s victims, the Cumbrian killer.
It seems that one family will get less than th eothers, because the dead victim had a criminal record and served a prison sentence over 20 years ago. His mother believes she is being treated unfairly. She is an innocent victim of crime – do you think she should have the same compensation as the other families ?
Thank-you for your comment. I do, I can see no reason why the innocent family of a murder victim should be punished for the acts of the deceased which occurred two decades ago.
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