MARIGOT–The Basse Terre, Guadeloupe, Appeals Court recently rejected claims to the will of the late Olivier Lange (owner of Captain Oliver’s Resort) by his niece and nephew, Axelle and François Lange and upheld the previous Judgement in January 22, 2015, when the Marigot court ruled the late Captain’s will was valid.
The judge concluded that the plaintiff’s “accusations were without substance” and consequently “the demands of the civil parties are inadmissible and rejected.”
The latest ruling finally allows liquidation of the estate, namely hotel, restaurant and marina and should bring an end to the bitter feud waged by the niece and nephew over their share of the estate. It comes seven years after the death of Olivier Lange who passed away on September 25, 2010.
On February 9, 2016, the Philipsburg court rejected all claims to the January 14, 2010, will of Olivier Lange made by the two plaintiffs. The will had already been contested in the Dutch-side court on September 24, 2013.
The plaintiffs filed one primary claim contesting validity of the will and five other claims, all of which the court found no grounds for invalidity or for deriving further rights from the will.
At the time, Judge MJ de Kort ruled that the will and last testament of Olivier Lange was valid and ordered the plaintiffs to pay for the cost of the proceedings in support of the defendants.
Axelle Lange began initiating the claims in 2011 arguing she and her brother were wronged. They disputed the share of 24 per cent to them and 52 per cent to the late Captain’s partner Maggi Shurtleff maintaining the will written up by a Dutch-side notary was a fake and not what their uncle would have wished for them. The appeals court judge indicated there was no evidence to support this allegation.
They also accused Maylïs Rioust de Largentaye, Captain Oliver’s assistant, personal secretary and executor of his will, of forging the signature on the will and fraudulently obtaining a “certificate de vie et de residence” in the name of Olivier Lange.
The latter document was needed by the Captain who was having treatment in Paris because, although he was resident on the Dutch side and affiliated to the Caisse des Francais abroad, the “certificate de vie” document, among others, was needed to be taken in charge by Sécurité Sociale.
The “certificate de vie” issued by the French Consulate in St. Maarten proved to be a genuine document as confirmed by a private investigator as did the Captain’s signature on the will as confirmed by a court-appointed graphology expert.
Also accused by the heirs was the Captain’s brother in law Pierre Bigiaoui of stealing a safe from the Captain’s office. The Captain before his death had asked Bigiaoui to put the safe in a secure place. This had been interpreted by Axelle Lange as theft. Bigiaoui said in court that he had not moved the safe himself but it was done by two employees.
It turned out the safe, opened by a Bailiff from the Dutch side for the first time since the Captain’s death, did not contain another will. Axelle Lange had always insisted there was a second will in which she and her brother were named sole heirs to the resort. However the Captain had planned to write a new will disinheriting his niece as he did not trust her competence to manage the resort, according to a notary clerk who testified in the case.