Indonesian Supreme Court Decision No. 162 of 2013: Inheritance Appeal Granted

The cassation applicant had married the deceased in 1997. She had one daughter from her previous marriage (her first husband had passed away), and the deceased had four children (first-fourth cassation respondents) from his first wife (fifth cassation respondent). The cassation applicant and the deceased never had any children. After the deceased passed away on 27 December 2011, ownership of their property came into question. The cassation applicant and the deceased obtained the property in 2003, five years into their marriage, and the cassation applicant sought: 50 per cent in her favour, the other 50 per cent split between the five cassation respondents. At the time of trial, the first cassation respondent was in possession of the property, valued to be worth IDR 500 million. The cassation applicant claimed the cassation respondents had not transferred to her half of the property, and based her cassation appeal on the following:

1. As the wife of the deceased, she should enjoy certain inheritance rights;

2 and 3. That while she incorrectly brought a joint asset action, rather than an inheritance claim, prior to the deceased's death, her inheritance claim should still stand;

4. That such an inheritance claim still details the division of joint assets;

5. That the appellate court had shown no interest in examining the case file and her reasons for appeal;

6.1 That the appellate court had applied the law incorrectly insofar as it had failed to properly assess the cassation applicant's additional documentary evidence, most notably that the property had been purchased prior to the cassation respondents selling the joint land of the deceased and the fifth cassation respondent (first wife of the deceased); and

6.2 That the cassation applicant would lodge an inheritance claim if her appeal in this instance were dismissed.

The Supreme Court acceded to the cassation appeal concurring that, while the cassation applicant had incorrectly filed a claim based on joint assets, rather than inheritance, the cassation respondents had also made formulaic errors in their submissions, including incorrectly making the fifth cassation respondent a party to the proceeding. Also, the court agreed that the lower court had failed to consider crucial evidence produced by the cassation applicant regarding ownership of the property.

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