Court orders Eric Vlaun to give account for estate-management

POSTED: 12/11/13 6:45 PM

St. Maarten – Eric Vlaun has to give account for the way he managed his father’s $20 million-estate, the late Charles Thomas Vlaun, to his sister Melissa Mitev-Vlaun, the Court in First Instance ruled yesterday in summary proceedings. Vlaun does however not have to open the books of the foundation that manages the shares of the C.T. Vlaun Family Holding.

The court ruling shows that Charles Thomas Vlaun united all his companies in 1999 in the holding that has the shares in all of its subsidiaries. A foundation manages the shares. The late Charles Vlaun and his spouse each held a certificate that represents 5,000 shares in the companies.

Vlaun and his spouse were appointed for life as board members of the foundation. Eric Vlaun would become the chairman of the foundation for life after the death of his father. When Charlie Vlaun passed away on October 18, 2004, his last will mentions his nine children as his heirs and it mentioned two candidates as executors of the will: tax attorney Max Pandt and banker Jan Beaujon. Both declined to accept the job.

Eric Vlaun became managing director of the holding in 2004, while his sister Anette became one of the board members of the foundation. At the end of the year 2004, most siblings signed a power of attorney that mandated Eric Vlaun to examine the assets and liabilities of the estate and to manage the estate.

In 2011 Melissa Vlaun and, according to the court ruling, “at least one of the other heirs,” revoked the power of attorney to their brother Eric. Up to this day the estate has not been divided between the heirs.

Melissa Vlaun demanded in summary proceedings that her brother Eric provide within two weeks after a ruling in her favor a description of the estate. She also demands that he gives account for the way he managed the estate since 2004. Furthermore, Melissa Vlaun demanded that her brother opens the books of the foundation to give her insight in its capital, annual financial accounts and decisions taken by its board.

Eric Vlaun denied in court that he is the executor of his father’s estate, but the court ruled that he is the only one who took the initiative to see to the management and the division of the estate. The court furthermore concluded that Eric Vlaun has to give account each year for the management of the estate.

The court ruled that there is no comprehensive overview of the way Eric Vlaun managed the estate since 2004 and that Vlaun has a duty to provide this to his sister Melissa. The court gave Vlaun four weeks’ time to provide the information and asked him to consider giving it also to the other heirs. “Based on the law there is no basis for the conclusion that Eric Vlaun has a duty to do more than give account for the way he managed the estate.”

Eric Vlaun will have to cooperate with a description of the estate by the notary, but he has no duty to compile this description himself, the court ruled.

The court also ruled that the shares of the holding are the property of the foundation and that the certificates that each of the heirs holds, are part of the estate. The foundation has never paid dividend to the certificate-holders, reason why Melissa Vlaun wants to know what the foundation’s economic value is, but the court denied her the right to review the foundation’s financial administration.

 

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