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ERISA preemption of state slayer statutes: does it matter?

Over the last decade, courts around the country have been asked to decide whether ERISA preempts state slayer statutes – state laws that prohibit a murderer from collecting benefits as the beneficiary of the victim’s estate or as the surviving spouse of the victim under an insurance policy or benefit plan.  Courts have come down on both sides of the issue – some finding that ERISA preempts the state law, others holding that the state law governs.

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