Mother accused of killing her severely disabled daughter, 8, could inherit $1 MILLION from child’s trust fund even if convicted


A mother who is accused of killing her severely disabled eight-year-old daughter could still inherit nearly $1million from her trust fund even if she is convicted.

Alayah-Rose Savarese

Alayah-Rose Savarese, who suffered from cerebral palsy and could not speak, walk or feed herself, was found dead from a ruptured stomach in her mother Nicole Diggs’s apartment in New York. She had been the beneficiary of a $2million trust fund created from the settlement of a malpractice suit that stemmed from complications during her birth at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca. Following her death in June 2012, Diggs and her husband Oscar Thomas – who is not Alayah’s father – were arrested on suspicion of deliberately withholding vital food and medical care from her.

They have both denied charges of negligent homicide and child endangerment. If convicted, the pair face a maximum sentence of four years each in prison. But now, it has emerged that Diggs, a special education teacher, would not be automatically disqualified from inheriting almost half of her daughter’s trust fund, even if she was convicted. This is because the 32-year-old – who married Thomas, 29, just three weeks after Alayah’s death – has not been charged with intending to kill her daughter.

Although many U.S. states have so-called slayer statutes to prevent profiting from a crime, New York courts generally hold that without intent, a homicide does not disqualify someone from inheriting from a victim, said St. John’s Law School professor Margaret Turano, a trust and estate expert.

Speaking during the trial, prosecutors in Westchester County said Alayah ‘was not provided [with] required daily food’, did not receive necessary medical treatment and was often left unattended. Authorities added that Alayah had suffered lacerations and welts from the neglect. Meanwhile, Diggs and Thomas ‘failed to maintain the child’s hygiene which caused her to have smelly and dirty hair and clothing, a foul odor about her body and bleeding gums,’ it was alleged.

Savarese’s lawyer declined to say whether his client would challenge Diggs’ potential inheritance, while Thomas’s lawyer refused to comment on the case.

Obviously this woman did not treat her disabled daughter like a parent should. I think they should deny the inheritance since she denied Alayah a healthy and safe environment for 8 years.

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