Will the Estate Pay for a Crime Scene Cleanup After a Homicide?

While the death of a loved one is always an emotional and challenging experience, the homicide of a family member or a friend is particularly difficult. If you have found yourself in the position of dealing with the aftermath of the homicide of a loved one, you likely have a number of significant questions. Among them is will the estate of the deceased person pay for crime scene cleanup.

A crime scene cleanup following a homicide must be undertaken immediately. A delay can result in permanent damage being caused to the premises and the prospect the biological contamination associated with this type of crime scene can result in the spread of disease. A proactive executor can make these arrangements and deal with developing a sound strategy for payment.

The Basic Answer

The quick answer to the question of will the estate be responsible for paying for crime scene cleanup after a homicide is “yes” in many situations. For example, if the homicide occurred in the home of the deceased person – whether owned or rented by that individual – the estate will have a primary responsibility for paying the costs associated with crime scene cleanup.

If the homicide occurred in some other locations, the estate would not have an obligation to pay for crime scene cleanup. There may be situations in which the death occurred outside of the deceased individual’s residence at which the estate might legally bear at least some responsibility to pay the crime scene cleanup bill, as a practical matter it won’t be called upon to do so.

With this basic understanding of the potential legal obligation of an estate to pay for crime scene cleanup following a homicide, there are some other factors that come into play when it comes to payment issues. The fact is that even if an estate is responsible for paying the costs of crime scene cleanup, the money to do so may not necessarily all come out of the assets of an estate.

Two possible resources which might be available to pay for some or all of the costs associated with the costs associated with crime scene cleanup following a homicide are a homeowner’s insurance policy, a crime victim compensation fund, or both.

Homeowner’s Insurance

The possibility exists that the deceased person’s homeowner’s insurance policy may provide at least some coverage for crime scene cleanup following a homicide. Coverage may not be abundantly apparent within the policy provisions. A closer examination may be necessary to ascertain if a homeowner’s insurance policy does provide at least some coverage for a crime scene cleanup following a residential homicide.

Because of the challenges that can be associated with pursuing an insurance claim for crime scene cleanup, those responsible for dealing with a homicide cleaning – including the executor of an estate – will want to engage the services of a biohazard remediation company with experience in dealing with insurance claims.

Crime Victim Compensation Fund

States across the country have established different types of victim compensation funds. These funds provide compensation to victims of different types of crimes, including homicides. In California, the agency that provides this type of compensation – and access to other resources – is known as the California Victim Compensation Board. The Board will provide up to $1,000 for crime scene cleanup.

Eco Bear is a company that provides crime scene cleanup, including those associated with homicides. Eco Bear caps fees for a crime scene cleanup to the maximum available from the California Victim Compensation Board. This billing process works well for an estate because an executor knows that when it pays a bill for crime scene cleanup it will never be above $1,000. Moreover, an executor can be quite confident that the Board will provide necessary reimbursement for this cost in a timely manner.

In addition, the team at Eco Bear is adept at dealing with the Board. They team will assist in preparing a request for compensation from the Board that includes necessary documentation, including scene photos.

Death at a Rental Home

If the deceased person was killed in a rented home, other family members oftentimes assume they are responsible for paying for crime scene cleanup. Indeed, that sometimes is a position that landlords attempt to take.

The reality is that family members that did not live at the premises do not have a legal obligation to pay for crime scene cleanup following a homicide in rental property. The landlord does have recourse in the form of submitting a claim to the estate of the person that was killed for reimbursement for crime scene cleanup.

A renter’s insurance policy is not highly likely to include coverage for crime scene cleanup. Nonetheless, checking to see if some compensation for crime scene cleanup might be eked out of renter’s insurance coverage is worth a look.