VOL. 1
[1 P. S. Ct. R 256]

Pohnpei Civil Action No. 66-85

Trial Division of the Pohnpei Supreme Court

September 13, 1985

     Petition for the appointment of heir to intestate and for order of probate and distribution of intestate's property. Motion was filed to amend Court's previous judgment under Role 52 of the Pohnpei Rules of Civil Procedure on ground that since decedent died intestate in 1975 PL-155-78 was not the proper law to apply.

     The Trial Division of the Pohnpei Supreme Court, EDWEL. H. SANTOS, Chief Justice, held (1) that upon the death of the intestate the law applicable to the inheritance

[1 P. S. Ct. R 257]

of his property was the law then in effect; (2) that the petitioner, the natural daughter of the intestate, was heir of the intestate; and (3) that the petitioner, had made valid customary gifts of sub-divisions of land she inherited from the intestate, to her adopted brothers.

1.      Civil Procedure - Judgment - Amendment
Upon a motion by a party the Court may amend its judgment, where the Court has through oversight applied wrong intestate succession law. (Rule 52 of PN RCP).

2.      Domestic Relations - Intestacy - Succession
The law that applies to the disposition of an intestate's property is the inheritance law in effect at the time of the death.

3.      Domestic Relations - Intestacy - Succession
Where intestate died in 1975, petitioner, natural daughter of the intestate was the heir of the intestate as against the decedent's adopted son and wife.

4 .     Custom - Customary Gift
There is a valid customary gift where petitioner by writing entitled "Kisin Likou en Pengsapw" sub-divides land she inherits from her intestate father and designates portions thereof to her adopted brothers.

5.      Custom - Customary Gift
A customary gift requires no consideration.

6.      Custom - Customary Gift
Under Pohnpeian custom when a gift is made by the donor and the fact is communicated to the donee a valid gift is thereby effected.

Counsel for Petitioner:  Erwine Hadley and Tino Donre of MLSC

[1 P. S. Ct. R 258]

EDWEL H. SANTOS, Chief, Justice
     [1-2] Hearing on this matter was held on August 26, 1985, and judgment order entered September 4,1985. Motion to amend judgment under Rule 52 of PN RCP was filed on September 13, 1985, by counsel for petitioner. The motion lists four grounds, one of which is the determining factor in this action, that is, since the decedent, Odeniel Madin, died intestate in 1975, the Intestacy Law of 1978 PL-155-78 is not the proper law to apply. This ground correctly points out an oversight of the Court which necessitates an amendment to its conclusion of law and decree of distribution entered on September 4, 1975. Being an oversight, this amendment does not affect the Court's earlier findings, which, for easy reference, are restated here.

1.      Odeniel Madin died April 5, 1975 intestate.
2.      Odeniel Madin was survived by the following relatives:

(a) Kedy Ezra, natural daughter and the petitioner herein;
(b) Joseph Joseph, adopted son;
(c) Kohs lansin, adopted son; and
(d) Piula Madin, decedent's wife.

[1 P. S. Ct. R 259]

3.      The asset sought to be distributed here constitutes a parcel of land described as Parcel No. 060-A-14 which is a component part of tract No. T-71178 located in Mwalok, Section of Sokehs Municipality, as shown on Lands & Surveys Property Plat No. 060-A-00 recorded with the Registrar of Land on March 3,1976, as Document No. 1930, said parcel of land containing an area of 7,242 square meters more or less.
4.      On April 23, 1976, approximately one year after Odeniel Madin died, the Pohnpei Land Commission issued a Certificate of Title relating to the subject property in favor of the heirs) of Odeniel Madin. The Certificate of Title does not specify the name or names of the heirs of Odeniel Madin.

5.      Petitioner's exhibit No. 1 entitled "Kisin Likou en Pengsapw" reveals that the Petitioner Kedy Ezra on July 7, 1981, had sub-divided the subject land parcel No. 060-A-14 into three sub-divisions: the first sub-division runs from the lower part of the parcel up to the first monument and is reserved for Kedy Ezra, the petitioner, the second sub-division runs from the first monument above the public road and up to the second

[1 P. S. Ct. R 260]

monument which is designated for Kedy Ezra's adopted brother Kohs lansin, and the third sub-division runs from the second monument upward to the third which is designated for Kedy Ezra's other adopted brother Joseph Joseph.
     [3] Upon the death of Odeniel Madin in 1975, the inheritance law which was in effect in Pohnpei was Public Law No. 3-1759 which is codified as section 12-101, Ch. 12 of PNI Dist. Code. Under this statute, the petitioner had superior right of inheritance over her adopted brothers, Sec. 12-101 (b) Pon. Dist. Code, et seq The designation of heir in the Pohnpei Land Commission Certificate of Title issued on April 23, 1976 relating to Parcel No. 060-A-14 (T-71178 - Part) thus referred to the Petitioner Kedy Ezra as the heir of Odeniel Madin, entitled to inherit the decedent's land pursuant to PL-3-17-59.     

     [4] to [6] The petitioner's exhibit No. 1 described in paragraph 5 of the Court's finding is a customary gift and required no consideration. When a gift of this type is made by the donor and the fact is communicated to the donee, under Pohnpeian custom, a validgift is thereby effected.

[1 P. S. Ct. R 261]


1.      Kedy Ezra, the petitioner is the heir of Odeniel Madin referred to in the Pohnpei Land Commission Certificate of Title issued on April 23, 1976, covering the parcel of land No. 060-A-14 (T-71178 - Part) and she is entitled to succeed the decedent Odeniel Madin on the land in question.

2.      The petitioner's gift of the portions of the land to her adopted brothers were and are valid and confirmed by this Order.

3.      The Pohnpei Land Commission may issue new Certificates of Title to the petitioner and her adopted brothers covering their respective shares of the land following the procedure outlined in the Land Commission Act, ( 67 TTC 119).

4.      The Order of this Court entered on September 4, 1985 is amended and superseded.