CHUUK STATE SUPREME COURT TRIAL DIVISION

Cite as In re Land Noota, Neppi, 15 FSM Intrm. 518 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 2008)

[15 FSM Intrm. 518]

IN THE MATTER OF THE LAND NOOTA, NEPPI

of Deceased Sakiama Kubo,

By:  Tosiko Kubo, Martina Hartmann, and

Juliana Hartmann,

Petitioners.

CSSC PROBATE NO. 38-2007

ORDER OF DISMISSAL

Camillo Noket

Chief Justice

Hearing:  January 31, 2008

Decided:  February 21, 2008

[15 FSM Intrm 519]

APPEARANCE:

For the Petitioners:   George Hauk

                                  P.O. Box 1405

                                  Weno, Chuuk FM 96942

* * * *

HEADNOTE

Domestic Relations ) Probate; Judgments ) Collateral Attack

      As the purpose of probate is not to determine issues of ownership, probate petitioners should resolve issues regarding land ownership, if any, before they proceed with probate. Otherwise, the probate proceeding may be subject to collateral attack from those who may claim an interest in the property and who were not given notice or made a party to this proceeding. In re Land Noota, Neppi, 15 FSM Intrm. 518, 519 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 2008).

* * * *

COURTíS OPINION

CAMILLO NOKET, Chief Justice:

1.  On October 8, 2007, petitioners filed a probate petition requesting their appointment as administratrix for their deceased family member, Sakiama Kubo.

2.  On January 31, 2008, the court held a scheduled hearing. Petitioners and George Hauk, as their counsel, appeared.

3.  For the reasons set forth on the record and memorialized herein, the court ordered dismissal of the petition without prejudice.

Legal Analysis

      Petitionersí petition raised, on its face, an issue as to their legal claim to the real property, "Noota, Neppi," for which they are requesting probate. In paragraphs 6-9 of their petition, petitioners state that Kubo, the deceased, permitted other relatives to occupy the property and that, since Kuboís death, these relatives continue to occupy and landscape the property. According to petitioners, these persons have been "scolded" but continue to landscape the land without petitionersí permission. Pet. para. 9. The court took judicial notice that petitioners had raised an issue as to their claim of ownership over Noota, Neppi.

      Therefore, as the purpose of probate is not to determine issues of ownership, the court advised petitioners that issues regarding ownership, if any, should be resolved before they proceed with probate. Otherwise, the probate proceeding may be subject to collateral attack from those who may claim an interest in the property and who were not given notice or made a party to this proceeding. See Pastor v. Ngusun, 11 FSM Intrm. 281 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 2002).

* * * *