Concord, NC asked in Wrongful Death for North Carolina

Q: Any way to keep my nephew from benefitting from my sister's death?

She was killed in NC when a mattress fell onto highway from a truck. My mother, my sister's fiance (who has filed suit) and my nephew who chose to be estranged from my sister are alive. If the family sues can we bar him from benefitting since he was so cruel to his mother when she was alive? He doesn't deserve to benefit from her death in any fashion. I would think some social media posts and witness accounts could prove he was mentally and physically abusive towards her.

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1 Lawyer Answer

Robert D. Kreisman

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Answered

A: I'm not familiar with North Carolina's law on wrongful death claims. In many jurisdictions there are wrongful death acts that give weight to the relationship that a "next-of-kin" has with the decedent. In other words a court and/or jury would consider what if any relationship each person who is considered a "next-of-kin" claiming the loss of the death had with the decedent. If your sister survived this incident for any length of time before her passing then a survival claim could be made. In that scenario your nephew would be an heir to his mother's estate and would receive a percentage of any recovery that resulted from the survivorship claim. If your sister's death was immediate, then there would not be a viable survivorship claim to be made. I would encourage you to speak to a local lawyer who practices in the area of injury and wrongful death cases.

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