“PHNOM PENH MUNICIPAL COURT DISREGARDS THE WILL AND DIVIDES THE ESTATE ‘EQUALLY’”

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Mr. Ta Voracsattha, a Cambodian citizen left a Will which was made before a notary public on 09 December 2012 before he passed away later in that month.

Being a father of six children, the deceased appointed, in the said Will, two of his children as the co-executors of the Will to carry out his wish by managing and distributing the estates in accordance with the content of the Will.

Wanting to obtain an equal share of the estates, some of the successors were not happy with their father’s decision and requested the Court to divide the assets ‘equally’ for all children by totally disregarding the Will of the deceased.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court agreed with such request and disregarded the Will even though the Will is valid and recognized by law. The co-executors of the Will were shocked and therefore made an appeal against the decision of the Court and demanded for the execution of the Will as it is at the Appeal Court.

According to the Civil Code of Cambodia, succession is classified into two: a testamentary succession and a statutory succession. While the former legally recognizes a succession made in a form of Will, the latter only applies when there is an absence of a Will.

On this subject, a legal expert in the areas of family and succession law (who prefer to remain anonymous) expresses that an estate, which is subject to a testamentary succession, must be divided in accordance with the Will, especially when the Will is made before the notary public; Only if the Will is declared invalid, the division and distribution of the estate is done in accordance with the law which is the statutory succession, the legal expert added.

Should the Appeal Court agree with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and disregard the autonomy of Mr. Ta Varacsattha, who is the real owner of his estates, we will see the result today as the Appeal Court was scheduled to make its ruling this morning of 15th December 2017.

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