Murder She Wrote – Wife Writes Children’s Book On Grief After Murdering Her Husband

Murder She Wrote – Wife Writes Children’s Book On Grief After Murdering Her Husband

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Kouri Richins (“Kouri”) has been held without bail on charges of criminal homicide, aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance (fentanyl) in connection with the murder of her husband, Eric. Based on autopsy and toxicology reports, Eric had five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system. Prosecutors claim Kouri served Eric a Moscow Mule full of fentanyl prior to his death. Investigators found searches on her phone including (1) “What is a lethal dose of fentanyl?”, (2) “Can cops force you to take a lie detector test?”, (3) “Luxury prisons for the rich in America?”, (4) “Death certificate still pending, will life insurance still pay?”, (5) “If someone is poisoned, what does it go down on the death certificate as?”, and (6) “How to permanently delete information from an iPhone remotely?”

After her husband died, Kouri published a children’s book “Are you with me?” on how children should deal with grief. Prior to the criminal charges against her, she even promoted her book on television. Eric’s likeness was depicted in the book as an angel.

Prosecutors and the family allege that Kouri (without Eric’s knowledge or consent) withdrew money from his account, including a $250,000 loan using his personal information by forging a power of attorney. Eric’s family (through his estate and his trust) sued Kouri after a forensic document examiner determined Eric’s financial documents had been forged. Kouri also attempted to change Eric’s life insurance policy to make herself the sole beneficiary without his knowledge or consent.

Eric and Kouri had a prenuptial agreement that said Eric’s home and business would be Kouri’s at his death. However, after learning of Kouri’s forgery in getting the $250,000 loan and moving the proceeds into her own business account, Eric transferred his home and business (without Kouri’s knowledge or consent) into his trust so that she would not be a beneficiary. As a result, Kouri sued Eric’s estate for the business and home. Eric’s estate has countersued for the fraudulent loan, the funds stolen from his bank account and credit card charges she made fraudulently on his card in addition to the use of Eric’s likeness in her book.

Under the laws of Utah where they lived, a murderer or murder suspect cannot profit from a victim’s likeness. The book has not been available by Amazon’s publishing platform after Kouri’s arrest. Furthermore, Utah has a slayer statute whereby a murderer cannot retain a property interest in their victim’s estate. The lawsuit against Kouri by Eric’s estate and trust asks the court to impose a trust to prevent Kouri from making money or selling property during her trial.

Under the Texas slayer statute, a person who is suspected of or found guilty of causing the death of someone cannot benefit. The Texas Insurance Code specifically states that “a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or contract forfeits the beneficiary’s interest in the policy or contract if the beneficiary is a principal or accomplice in willfully bringing about the death of the insured”.

In addition to the Texas Insurance Code, case laws and equity does not permit anyone to profit from wrongfully killing someone. Murder conviction is not required to forfeit an inheritance – only a preponderance of the evidence in a civil court is needed under the Insurance Code (although the Estate Code references conviction). Courts in Texas (similar to Utah) have imposed a constructive trust on insurance proceeds.

If interested in learning more about this article or other estate planning, Medicaid and public benefits planning, probate, etc., attend one of our free upcoming Estate Planning Essentials workshops by clicking here or calling 214-720-0102. We make it simple to attend and it is without obligation.

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