Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Murdering Mother Could Inherit $1 Million

Nicole diggs

A special education teacher who was accused of killing her disabled 8-year-old daughter by withholding food and medical care could inherit almost $1 million form the girl’s trust fund. 

Alayah Savarese, who was killed in 2012, was the beneficiary of a trust fund created from the settlement of a malpractice suit stemming form complications during her birth.  Although the indictment does not allege the trust fund was a motive, Nicole Diggs’ attorney says prosecutors are implying her client “somehow disposed of her daughter in order to obtain the money.”  Prosecutors say Alayah was not provided with daily food, did not receive medical tratement, was often left alone and kept away from school.  She suffered lacerations, bruises and welts from the neglect.

If convicted, Diggs would not disqualify from inheriting her daughter’s fortune because she is not charged with intending to kill the girl.  Many states have slayer statutes to prevent profiting from crime, however, New York courts have generally held that without intent, a homicide does not disqualify someone from inheriting from a victim.  “If it’s unintentional, then the person can still inherit. . . . But the facts of this case are very unsettling and under the circumstances, it doesn’t seem correct that would happen.” 

See The Associated Press, Mom Charged in Girl’s Death Could Get Trust Fund, Monroe News, Sept. 1, 2014.


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