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Utah man allegedly murdered by author wife took 'highly unusual' steps to boot her out of will

Eric Richins, a Utah man allegedly poisoned to death by his wife, Kouri Richins, took "highly unusual steps" to keep his wife from becoming the sole beneficiary of his estate.

Eric Richins, a Utah man allegedly poisoned to death by his wife of nine years, took "highly unusual steps" to keep his wife from becoming the sole beneficiary of his estate after his death, according to his attorney.

Prosecutors allege Kouri Richins, 33, murdered her 39-year-old husband by spiking his cocktail with fentanyl the evening of March 3, 2022, at their home in Kamas, just outside of Park City, while their three sons were asleep.

"Eric made and requested several unusual to highly unusual choices and provisions to his estate plan," estate-planning attorney Kristal Bowman-Carter wrote in a declaration filed in Summit County in connection with Kouri Richins' murder case. 

Prior to his death, Eric took Kouri off his will and made his sister and father the beneficiaries instead. His family told authorities he had been in fear for his life after Kouri allegedly tried to poison him several years ago in Greece and again on Valentine's Day last year.

UTAH MOM KOURI RICHINS GOOGLED ‘LUXURY PRISONS FOR THE RICH’ AFTER ALLEGEDLY KILLING HER HUSBAND: DOCS

Bowman-Carter said she met Eric Richins in 2018, when he asked her to prepare a buy-sell agreement for his masonry business. In October 2020 he approached her again to discuss his estate planning.

UTAH AUTHOR ACCUSED OF MURDERNG HUSBAND ALLEGEDLY CAUGHT TRYING TO STEAL HIS LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS

"At our meeting, he told me he had two primary goals. His first goal was to protect him in the short-term from fairly recently discovered and ongoing abuse and misuse of his finances by his wife Kouri Richins.… His second was to protect the three young sons he and Kouri had together in the long-term by ensuring that Kouri would never be in a position to manage his property after his death," Bowman-Carter wrote.

Eric believed that designating someone other than his wife "to manage his property after his death would protect his sons from Kouri’s poor financial choices and decisions," she added.

Prosecutors allege Kouri purchased four different life insurance policies on Eric's life totaling more than $1.9 million between 2015 and 2017. 

UTAH CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHOR ACCUSED OF MURDERING HUSBAND TOOK OUT $2M IN LIFE INSURANCE PRIOR TO HIS DEATH

Skye Lazaro, Kouri's defense attorney in the murder case, said during a Monday bail hearing that making poor financial decisions does not make her client a murderer.

"Being bad with money does not make you a murderer. Being bad at managing your accounts makes you bad at math, but it doesn't make you a murderer," she said, according to KUTV.

In November 2020, Eric asked Bowman-Carter to make his sister, Katie, his health-care agent instead of his wife, which the attorney described as "highly unusual," as most spouses list each other as their health-care agents. He later changed his mind and made Kouri his primary health-care agent, Bowman-Carter explained.

Eric also made clear that, while he wanted his children to be the primary beneficiaries of his estate, Kouri only "benefit from the minimum amount he was required to leave her and that she could not control either" her share or her children’s share of Eric’s estate. He went on to choose his sister and father as his successor trustees, his lawyer wrote.

UTAH CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHOR HAD ‘PERFECT’ MARRAIGE WITH HUSBAND BEFORE ALLEGED MURDER: FRIEND

On Jan. 1, 2022, months before Eric's death, Kouri "surreptitiously and without authorization changed the beneficiary for his $2 million life insurance policy to herself," the document states. Eric received a notification about the change and switched the beneficiary back to his business partner.

According to other court documents filed last month, the couple was having financial disagreements over Kouri's desire to purchase a nearly $2 million mansion under construction in Wasatch County. The 33-year-old, who owned a real estate company, wanted to flip the mansion and sell it for a profit, a warrant states. 

UTAH MAN ALLEGEDLY POISONED BY AUTHOR WIFE BELIEVED SHE WAS HAVING AFFAIR: FAMILY SPOX

Kouri is accused of spiking her husband’s Moscow Mule with fentanyl, an opioid that is lethal in small doses, while they were celebrating a home sale March 3, 2022. The next day, Kouri allegedly closed a deal on the Wasatch County mansion "alone," after her husband was pronounced dead.

When authorities contacted Bowman-Carter asking her to explain the details of Eric’s will to Kouri, the lawyer said she "became extremely upset" and started yelling.

"Kouri shouted, ‘What’s wrong with you people?’ and ‘How could you do this to me?’ and ‘This is my house,’" Bowman-Carter said. "I explained to her that the Trust owned the house and told her, ‘This is not your house.’"

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After Eric's death, Kouri wrote a children's book about death, "Are You With Me?"

A description for the book, which was listed on Amazon for $14.99, describes it as "a must-read for any child who has experienced the pain of loss, and for parents who want to provide their children with the emotional support they need to heal and grow."

A judge denied bail for Kouri in a Summit County courtroom on Monday.

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