109 Iowa L. Rev. 439 (2023)



Almost every state has a slayer statute which prevents a killer from benefiting from the estate of their victim as an heir, an insurance beneficiary, or a joint tenant. However, very few of these slayer statutes address the problem that arises when the slayer has been determined to be legally insane. In the absence of legislative guidance, courts facing this problem have developed multiple different approaches to address this issue. Ultimately, the majority of courts have allowed the insane slayer to inherit, escaping the application of the slayer statute. However, some courts have taken the opposite approach and barred the insane slayer from inheriting. Recently, a federal court faced this issue while interpreting Iowa law. The court had little guidance from Iowa law—the statute was silent and the state supreme court had yet to take up the issue. It ultimately decided that Iowa’s slayer statute probably did not bar the insane slayer from benefiting from the victim’s estate. This Note argues that the Iowa Legislature should amend its slayer statute to ensure that even the insane slayer does not inherit.

Thursday, November 16, 2023