In the field of estate and will planning, we sometimes see cases in which the heirs or the surviving spouse become embroiled in a battle over the family estate. Not all family members are close, and at times the disputes over the estate administration can become quite heated. This is why laws exist in Florida to protect a family's assets in the event of a will contest.
In most cases, a disputed will goes to probate, and the court will decide on the distribution of assets if the family can't come to a resolution. However, in a recent case that seems straight out of a television drama, an elderly woman has been accused of hiring a hitman to kill three of her relatives over her husband's estate.
According to investigators, the 82-year-old Alabama woman had concerns over who was to inherit her husband's estate after his death. She met who she thought was a middle man, and paid him twice, to discuss the arrangement of a third party to kill the three relatives she didn't want to inherit the estate.
The woman was arrested and charged with three counts of criminal solicitation, and conspiracy to commit murder. Currently, she's in jail on $600,000 bond.
This is a bizarre case that, fortunately, most families won't see even during the most bitter estate feuds. Rather than face prison time at her age, it probably would have been in the woman's best interests to discuss her concerns with her husband and with an estate planning attorney.
Source: Fox News, "Ala. woman, 82, accused of trying to arrange deaths of 3 relatives over husband's estate," April 19, 2013