Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 18 Jan 2019 12am







    Thursday, January 17, 2019-6:04:44P.M.






Font Size


Judge rules on distribution of Nauta estate

THE Superior Court found no advancement of inheritance occurred that would affect the petition for a final distribution of the estate of Elpidia Dela Cruz Nauta.

In his order, Judge Joseph N. Camacho said advancement requires that the property be given pursuant to custom, such as through “partida or testimento” or by contemporaneous writing or written acknowledgment by the heir.

William A. Nauta Sr., surviving spouse of a Northern Marianas Descent person and administrator of his wife’s estate, petitioned the court for the disposition of real properties in Chalan Piao, Koblerville and in Long Beach, California.

The decedent was survived by her sons William Jr., Kenneth, and John who are also NMDs like their mother.

Judge Camacho, in a recent separate decision, addressed the Koblerville property by ruling that William Sr. will get a half share of the property but only for 55 years.

In his latest order, he said the court, as a matter of expeditiousness and to prevent confusion, only considered the issue surrounding the Long Beach property.

He noted that although the petition identified the Chalan Piao and Koblerville properties, it did not reference the proposed distribution of property in Long Beach, California.

After considering William Sr.’s proposed distribution of the Long Beach property, and after careful review of the filings on record, the applicable laws, and arguments of counsels, the judge finds that the Long Beach property is held by William Sr. and Kenneth as joint tenants.

According to William Sr., Kenneth received the Long Beach property as an advancement to be deducted from Kenneth’s share of the properties on Saipan to ensure equal distribution among the heirs.

The decedent and William Sr. owned the Long Beach Property as joint tenants. At some point prior to decedent’s death, the couple agreed to give the Long Beach property to their son Kenneth since he had not purchased his own family home.

On April 8, 2005, after the death of Mrs. Nauta, William Sr. called a family meeting to discuss “partida” of the decedent’s property.

William Sr. informed his sons that Kenneth would be taking the Long Beach property and added Kenneth as a joint tenant.

A “partida” is the distribution of family landholdings according to Chamorro custom.

William Sr. stated that Kenneth would take a lesser share of the decedent’s real property in Saipan compared to his brothers since the Long Beach property was an advancement on Kenneth’s share of the estate.

However, according to the court, Kenneth was unaware that taking the Long Beach property would mean he would take a smaller share of the Saipan properties.

Judge Camacho said advancement requires that it be made during the decedent’s lifetime, and that the property must be “given pursuant to custom” or be documented in a contemporaneous writing by the decedent or heir.

The judge said there is nothing on the record indicating that any advancement or partida occurred during the decedent’s lifetime.

“Any alleged advancement or partida by William Sr. was done after the decedent’s death. William Sr. cannot give property as an advancement against his wife’s estate as it is not his estate to make advancements on,” the judge said.