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02 Feb 2020

Man receives 100% of wife’s insurance policy after killing her during schizophrenic episode

by Médérik Menard
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Maidment v. Forbes, 2020 NSSC 16

Richard Maidment and Sarabeth Forbes had been in a common law relationship since 2007. The couple had one child together, a boy named Devon. In 2015, Sarabeth applied for a life insurance policy through Cooperators Life. Sarabeth listed Richard as her primary beneficiary and her mother as a trustee for Devon as her contingent beneficiary should both Sarabeth and Richard die before Devon reached the age of majority.

Richard was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2012. Around April 2017, his mental health began rapidly deteriorating. On April 18, 2017, he killed Sarabeth. Richard was arrested and charged with her murder but on he was found not criminally responsible, on account of his mental disorder.

The issue at trial was: Who is the rightful beneficiary of Sarabeth’s Life Insurance policy, Richard or Devon.

At trial, the judge came to the conclusion that in finding Richard not criminally responsible at the criminal trial, killing Sarabeth did not disqualify Richard from receiving the death benefit. In his decision, the trial judge concluded the following “ If I had convicted Richard of murdering Sarabeth, he could not claim the life insurance proceeds. But I did not and could not find him guilty of murder. As noted above, it was obvious that Richard was not criminally responsible for Sarabeth's death.”

You can read Maidment v. Forbes, 2020 NSSC 16 in its entirety here.

At Foster & Company, we represent institutions and individuals looking for help understanding insurance coverages and responding to claims. Contact us by phone at 506-462-4000 or reach us online for advice.