VOL. 3
[3 PN.L.R. 188]


Pohnpei Civil Action No. 90-88

Trial Division of the Pohnpei Supreme Court

July 15, 1988

     Petition for the appointment of surviving spouse of deceased intestate as his successor. The evidence showed that the natural children of the decedent and the petitioner, their mother, had reached a family agreement in writing that the petitioner should succeed the deceased husband. The Trial Division of the Pohnpei Supreme Court, YOSTER CARL, Associate Justice, granting the petition, held that though the distribution of the estate of persons who die without a will was governed by D.L. 4L-15578, the Intestate Succession Act of 1978, because of the family agreement the petitioner should succeed the decedent to the exclusion of other heirs.

Intestacy - Succession - Family Agreements
Notwithstanding that the Intestate Succession Act of 1978, D.L. 4L-15578, governs the distribution of the property of an intestate, where there is a family agreement by the heirs of the intestate that the surviving spouse of the intestate shall be his sole successor, with respect to his leasehold property and certain moneys the Court will give effect to the family agreement.

Counsel for Petitioner:         Erwine Hadley
Micronesian Legal Services Corporation

YOSTER CARL, Associate Justice
     This case was heard before me in the Trial Division of the Pohnpei State Supreme Court on July 7, 1988, at 9:00 a.m. This

[3 PN.L.R. 189]

is an uncontested estate settlement case. Petition was filed on April 28, 1988. A 20-days period notice was given to the public. Neither party filed any response to the petition for estate settlement nor did anyone appear at the hearing to contest the petition.

     Present at the hearing were the petitioner, Maria Paul, the widow of the late Ernest Paul and her counsel, Erwine Hadley, of the Micronesian Legal Services Corporation.

     The following facts were found:

     1. The decedent, Ernest Paul, was and the petitioner, Maria Paul, is a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia and resident of Pohnpei State.

     2. The decedent and the petitioner were married in accordance with recognized Pohnpeian custom in or about May, 1953, and lived continuously together as husband and wife until the decedent died intestate on March 2, 1987.

     3. During their marriage the following natural children were born to the decedent and the petitioner:
          a.      Kathleen Hainrich, daughter;
          b.      Enter Paul, son;
          c.      Matha Paul, daughter;

[3 PN.L.R. 190]
          d.      Karly Paul, daughter;
          e.      Marly Paul, daughter
           f.      lasinda Paul, daughter;
          g.      Henster Paul, son; .
          h.      Herman Paul, son;
           i.      Erner Paul, son;
           j.      Keitheen Paul, daughter; and
           k.     Lensber Paul, son
     4. The known estate of the decedent includes the following assets:  
          a.      Kolonia Town Lease, Parcel No. 001-A-11;  
          b.      Bank of Hawaii Savings Account No. 3458;  
          c.      Paycheck No. 118056, dated 2/28/87.

     5. The natural children and the wife of the decedent, the petitioner in this case, have reached an agreement in writing that the petitioner, Maria Paul, shall succeed the decedent and own the assets mentioned in paragraph number 3 above.

     The distribution of land estate of persons who die without a will is governed by D.L. No. 4L-155-78, the Intestate Succession

[3 PN.L.R. 191]

Act of 1978. The law provides for undivided interest of all children, and life estate of the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse has one-third interest in all personal properties of the decedent. But because in this case a family agreement was reached as to the disposition of decedent's estate, It is ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED, pursuant to the family agreement, that:

     1. Maria Paul shall succeed the decedent, Ernest Paul, and continue the lease interest in the Kolonia Town Lease parcel No. 001-A-11;

     2. Maria Paul shall become the owner of Bank of Hawaii 1 Savings Account No. 3458; and

     3. Maria Paul shall have exclusive right in cashing and using paycheck No. 110856, dated 2/28/87.
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