A convicted murderer cannot inherit their victim’s estate. However, the lines become blurred if the person was not the direct murderer but perhaps:
(a) Assisted in covering up the murder? 谋杀罪的帮助犯；
(b) Accidentally killed the deceased? Or 过失致被害人死亡；或
(c) Was not guilty due to ill mental health? 由于精神失常被判无罪。
Essentially, whether the bad beneficiary will be prohibited from inheriting the deceased victim’s wealth depends on how “bad” their behaviour was. In other words, what was their level of culpability?
Recent reporting of the murder of Annabelle Chen by her husband has attracted widespread attention to the mechanics of the “forfeiture rule”. Mr Chen’s daughter, Tiffany Wan, was found to have helped her father cover up the crime. She was convicted and imprisoned. She will become eligible for parole next month, and the spotlight has now fallen upon the estate of the Annabella Chen. Although Tiffany’s father has been denied any possibility of inheritance, Tiffany herself could potentially inherit her deceased mother’s estate.
近日珀斯华人Annabelle Chen谋杀案引起了不少关注，焦点在于“没收规则”是否适用该案。Annabelle Chen的女儿Tiffany Wan为掩盖父亲的杀人罪行做了伪证，目前她还在监狱，但下月将有资格获得假释。她是否能够继承母亲Annabelle Chen的巨额遗产？尽管Tiffany Wan的父亲已经被剥夺了遗产继承权，Tiffany Wan本人依然有可能继承母亲的遗产。
At the moment, there is no direct precedent to guide whether involvement in covering up the murder would be sufficient to block the convicted person from inheriting all or part of the estate. The situation is unclear and the result cannot be predicted.
What is the Forfeiture Rule?
There are two versions of the Forfeiture Rule –the common law version and the legislated additions. The common law version applies to cases of murder and manslaughter but does not include the case of a person found not guilty of murder on the ground of mental illness.
The Forfeiture Act was introduced to provide the Court with the discretion, to modify or apply the operation of the forfeiture rule, as where “justice” requires.
《没收法案》（The Forfeiture Act ）赋予法官在运用没收规则时酌情使用自由裁量权，以实现法律的“公平正义”。
Section 3 of the Forfeiture Act 1995 which defines the “forfeiture rule” as “the unwritten rule of public policy that in certain circumstances precludes a person who has unlawfully killed another person from acquiring a benefit in consequence of the killing.”
The words “unlawful killing” are further defined as:
(a) any homicide committed in the State that is an offence, and
(b) any homicide that would be an offence if committed within the State,
and includes aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring such a homicide and unlawfully aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a suicide.
The common law forfeiture rule will continue to be strictly applied in the case of outright murder, and no opportunity to modify or temper the effect of the rule is offered by the Act.
The Settree Case
A recent example played out in the case of Re Settree Estates; Robinson v Settree  NSWSC 1413. In this case, the Scott Settree used a prohibited shotgun to shoot and kill his parents following an argument in the family home. The attack was unprovoked, and the Court itself made note that Mr and Mrs Settree were “blameless, loving parents”.
近几年和Annabelle Chen谋杀案比较相似的案件是去年的新南威尔士州Robinson诉Settree案（Robinson v SettreeNSWSC 1413）。被告Scott Settree在家中与父母发生争执，用一把违禁猎枪射杀了他的双亲。法院认定，这是一场意外，Scott属于过失杀人，Scott的父母也是“无可指摘的充满爱心的父母”。
Scott admitted to killing his parents, and admitted to intending to kill them, however he was not guilty by reason of mental illness and remains in protective detention as a result of orders made at the conclusion of his criminal trial.
The deceased parents left Wills that left their wealth to their two children equally. In total the estate was worth about $2 million dollars, and Scott was due to inherit half.
The inheritance became possible because the common law forfeiture rule does not apply in the case of a person found not guilty of murder by reason of mental illness. Scott’s sister, Wendy, decided to skip over the application of the common law rule and turn to the additional legislative rules.
Under s11 Forfeiture Act, Wendy applied to the Court for orders that the forfeiture rule still apply to Scott even though he was found not guilty of murder by reason of mental illness. Section 11 specifically provides for the possibility of extended the application of the Forfeiture Rule to persons found not guilty of murder by reason of mental illness where the evidence addresses:
(a) whether “justice” requires the rule to be applied as if the offender had been found guilty of murder;
(b) Scott’s conduct;
(c) the conduct of Scott’s deceased parents;
(d) the effect of the rule upon other people, ie Scott’s, children or other surviving beneficiates; and
(e) such other matters that the Court considers important.
The Court ultimately decide that the forfeiture rule would be applied, however with a condition that an amount of $50,000 be set aside from each of the parent’s estates to be held on restricted trusts for Scott’s welfare. In coming to this conclusion, the Court considered the level of premeditation, Scott’s mental illness and the view that Scott’s deceased parents would not have wanted Scott left without any financial assistance.
Although the common law rule seemed to have provide clear cut results, the tampering effect of the legislative discretion cannot be ignored. Keeping up with strong public sentiment regarding notions of morality and justice is no simple task.