In August, E'Dena Hines, the step-granddaughter of Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman, was killed. Her boyfriend, who apparently believed she was possessed, is suspected in the murder.
She did not have a will or any other form of estate plan. She also did not have children. That means that under the laws of intestate succession her estate should go to her parents.
However, as the Telegraph reports in "Morgan Freeman asks court to protect murdered granddaughter's inheritance," Freeman is asking a court to not give any of the estate to Hines' father.
Freeman claims that Hines' father abandoned her when she was a small child. The father apparently only saw his daughter a couple of times and did not provide any kind of support, financial or otherwise. Freeman has stepped into the case because most of the money in the estate was provided to Hines by him as gifts.
It is the actor's wish that his gifts do not go to the father he claims abandoned his granddaughter.
This case illustrates an important part of intestate laws. Even though the laws state who should receive a person's estate by default, the court can often rule differently for good cause.
One of the reasons for the law is to ensure that when a person passes away without a will his or her estate will go to whom he or she probably would have wanted. In this case, it would seem likely that Hines would not want her estate to go to a father she barely knew.
The court may have good cause to deny any portion of the estate to the father if Freeman's claims are proven. To learn more about estate planning and how to protect your assets, attend one of our free workshops.
Reference: The Telegraph (Nov. 19, 2015) "Morgan Freeman asks court to protect murdered granddaughter's inheritance"