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Duncan v. Vassaur

Supreme Court of Oklahoma
550 P.2d 929 (1976)


Facts

Edgar Vassaur, Jr. owned commercial real estate before marrying Betty Vassaur. After the marriage, Edgar executed a deed conveying the property into joint tenancy with Betty. Two years later, Betty fatally shot Edgar. After being criminally charged for the shooting, Betty executed a deed in grant of the commercial real estate to her father, William Duncan (plaintiff). Edgar Vassaur, Sr. (defendant) served as executor of his deceased son’s estate. In the name of the estate, Vassaur claimed interest in one half of the commercial real estate and asserted liens against the property in recovery of one half the amount paid by a life insurance policy in satisfaction of the mortgage and one half the expense of improvements to the property paid from estate assets. Duncan commenced a quiet title action against the estate. Vassaur filed an answer and counterclaim asserting his claims in the interest of the estate. Duncan demurred to the answer and counterclaims. The trial court construed Oklahoma’s “slayer statute” as prohibiting a convicted killer from enjoying any benefit of the victim’s estate, but not imposing such a prohibition on interests passing outside of probate. The trial court awarded judgment on the pleadings in favor of Duncan and Vassaur appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Davison, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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