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Judge lifts liens on Watheys’ accounts.

PHILIPSBURG--A Judge in the Court of First Instance has lifted the liens placed by Norman Chester Wathey II on bank accounts of his six co-heirs. Wathey II had placed liens on the other heirs' bank accounts on June 27, because he claimed they had failed to adhere to a stipulation of an April 13 court ruling, which obligated them to provide him with documents to settle their late father Norman Chester Wathey's estate. The judge agreed with the Watheys that the liens should be considered illegitimate, because the summonses had only been submitted to one heir, instead of to all six heirs separately. Norman Chester Wathey passed away January 4, 2001. The Joint Court of Justice irrevocably established that Wathey II was also entitled to his legitimate portion of his father's inheritance in June 2011. Since then the Wathey heirs are entangled in several court procedures.

In this specific case, the Watheys had filed for an injunction against Wathey II, asking the court to suspend the April 13 ruling where payment of damages for non-compliance was concerned. The Wathey heirs claimed they had timely submitted the required documents concerning their late father's estate to notary Meredith Boekhoudt, who is to handle the division of the estate among the heirs.

Judge René van Veen stated in his ruling that the Watheys had indeed complied with this stipulation in the court ruling. The Watheys had hired the services of PricewaterhouseCoopers. The judge said he understood why it had taken time to provide the required documents, because it involves a large estate and a large timeframe. But the clock is ticking for Wathey II, who is well in his sixties, and he should be able to capitalize his legitimate portion soon, the judge added.

Wathey II had claimed that not all required documents were made available to him, but the Judge said that court orders do not specify how and in which way these would have to be provided. Wathey II and his co-heirs may be related but they are far from being friends. The Watheys want Wathey II to refrain from seeking publicity and want him to sign a pledge of secrecy.

The Judge said he was doubtful whether this would be possible, but warned Wathey II he should realise that publicity would harm this family matter and would only yield attention but no legitimate portion. "It is almost predictable that this would only lead to more (legal) procedures. And these procedures would prevent the estate notary to do her work," Judge van Veen wrote in his verdict. He suggested the Watheys to come to a mutual agreement to refrain from making public any privacy-sensitive data concerning their family.

The Watheys, in turn, need to realise that Wathey II does not have to accept "any sabotage, delay or unreasonable demands," the Judge stated. Wathey II may have lost this injunction, but that did not mean he would be "without a chance" in future injunctions, the Judge added.

"The situation remains that four months after the verdict to give me insight into the administration of my late father's estate I still cannot determine the value of my share. Nor can I receive what is legally due to me with no date in sight. This judge has taken away from me the only means of pressuring the other heirs to comply. I, however, still do believe in our justice system and that judges cannot be bought or influenced. This is just a temporary setback," Wathey II said in a comment.

Source: The Daily Herald 20 August 2012

Mayesi Hammoud, attorney at law at the law firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne, assisted the Wathey heirs.

Monday, 20 August 2012 00:00

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