POHNPEI SUPREME COURT REPORTS
VOL. 1
 
[1 P. S. Ct. R 17]

IN THE MATTER OF THE
PERSONAL PROPERTY OF ESTEL E. PELEP,
Deceased

NELSON PELEP,
Petitioner

Ponape Civil Action No. 73-84

Ponape State Court

June 27, 1984

     Petition by eldest son of intestate beneficiary of life insurance policy to be appointed administrator of the estate of the decedent of which an insurance check was part.

     The Ponape State Court, EDWEL H. SANTOS, Chief Justice, granting the petition, held that in accordance with Ponapean custom the petitioner as the eldest son of the decedent had the right to represent his brothers and sisters.

1. Courts - Custom - Judicial Notice
The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that according to Ponapean custom the eldest son has a right to come forth as representative of all his brothers and sisters.

2. Courts - Life Insurance Policy - Distribution of Proceeds to Beneficiaries
For the distribution of the assets inuring to the estate of a beneficiary of a life insurance policy the Court is bound to give efficacy to the language of the insurance policy.

3. Life Insurance Policy - Distribution of Proceeds to Beneficiaries
Where Group Life Insurance Policy provides that surviving beneficiaries shall share equally the petitioner as a common beneficiary of the deceased's insurance estate is entitled to an equal share of the estate.

4. Administration - Duty of Administrator
It is the duty of petitioner as administrator, in collaboration with his brothers and sisters, to settle any debts which are outstanding in the name of the deceased to the extent of the assets of the estate and distribute the balance of the assets of the estate.

[1 P. S. Ct. R 18]

if any, in accordance with the insurance policy and the Ponape Intestate Succession Act of 1977 ( P.L. 4L-155-78).

EDWEL H. SANTOS, Chief Justice,

FACTS
   1.      Estel E. Pelep was a resident of Madolenihmw Municipality and was formerly married to one Nelsin Pelep. Estel E. Pelep was a designated beneficiary of a life insurance policy held by Nelsin Pelep. Estel E. Pelep predeceased her husband, Nelsin Pelep, having died on April 28, 1978, intestate. The policy holder, Nelsin Pelep, died on December 26, 1983. Estel E. Pelep and Nelsin Pelep had begotten the following children, namely:

1.    Elsihna Hadley
                        2.    Nelson Pele
3.    Wetson Pelep
4.    Lolihda Henry
5.    Rosehda Joseph
6.    Linda Pelep
7.    Eltis Pelep
8.    Kelsin Pelep
            9.    Norma Pelep
10.  Lorna Pelep

[1 ]       Nelson Pelep is the eldest son and according to Ponapean custom of which this Court takes judicial notice, he has a right to

[1 P. S. Ct. R 19]

come forth as representative of all the children.

   2.      After the death of Nelsin Pelep, an insurance check was issued payable to Estel E. Pelep as designated beneficiary. Total of the check is $1,400.00. Petitioner Nelson Pelep filed his petition on behalf of his brothers and sisters to be designated as administrator of the decedent Estel E. Pelep's estate, of which this insurance check is a part.

   3.      Public Notice had been given pursuant to prevailing practice in the State and it appears that no claim nor any objection had been filed by any party.

CONCLUSION OF LAW
[2]        For the distribution of the assets of an estate of this nature, the Court is bound to give efficacy to the language of the insurance policy. The subject insurance policy is the Standard Group Life policy negotiated by the Trust Territory Government for its employees. A portion of the subject Group Life-insurance policy reads, under the beneficiary; as follows:
"Except as may be otherwise specifically provided by the individual,
a.      If any designated beneficiary predeceases the individual, the share which such beneficiary would have received if

[1 P. S. Ct. R 20]

surviving the individual shall be payable equally to the remaining designated beneficiary or beneficiaries if any who survive the individual."

[3-4]   The designated beneficiaries are those children named under Fact No. 1 above. In view of this provision, of the policy, the Court recognizes the petitioner as a common beneficiary of the deceased entitled to an equal share of the estate and recognizing the fact that the petitioner is acting in accordance with the custom as to right of representation of his brothers and sisters; it is ORDERED:

  1.      That petitioner Nelson Pelep be and he is hereby appointed as administrator of the estate of Estel E. Pelep who died intestate on April 28, 1978.

  2.      That petitioner in collaboration with his other brothers and sisters, is authorized and directed to settle any debt which are outstanding in the name of the deceased, Estel E. Pelep, and inasmuch as the asset of Estel E. Pelep's estate, can permit, and

   3.      To distribute the balance of the assets of the estate, if any, in  accordance with the provision of the Insurance Policy above referred to, and the Ponape Intestate Succession Act of 1977,  P.L. 4L-155-78.  So Ordered this 27th day of June, 1984.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
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