Court orders children, common-law wife to make joint bid to administer Henry Greene estate

Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang on Friday ordered two children and the common-law wife of late former Commissioner of Police Henry Greene to make a joint application for a grant of Letters of Administration of his estate.

Chang also ruled that the estate be administered within three months of the grant of Letters of Administration.

The ruling was based on applications to the court by Troy Henry Greene and Shelda Oneka Greene to dismiss an application for the grant of Letters of Administration by the former commissioner’s common-law wife, Gail Stoll. The siblings asked the court to either appoint them as administrators of the estate or to appoint both them and Stoll as joint administrators of the estate.

Henry Greene
Henry Greene

Henry Greene died on September 7, 2012, after he was involved in a head-on collision with a truck at Harlem, West Coast Demerara. He had left millions in assets, including properties, several vehicles and holdings in the gold mining sector.

On November 12, 2012, Stoll had applied for the grant of Letters of Administration on the basis that at the time of Green’s death, she was his common-law wife and was therefore entitled to a grant of Letters of Administration evidence under Section 2(1) of the Civil Law (Rights of Persons in Common Law Union) Act 2012.

The Act, which was enacted in July 2012, provides that “where a single woman and a single man have lived together in a common-law relationship for not less than five years immediately preceding the death of either of them, and the person died intestate, the surviving woman or man shall be entitled to the same power and rights regarding intestate succession as a widow or widower or a surviving wife or husband in the Civil Law of Guyana Act, the Deceased Persons Estate Act or any other law relating to intestate succession.”

However, in their statement of claim, the plaintiffs had said that Stoll does not qualify for a grant of Letters of Administration under the Act since she had not cohabited with the deceased for at least 5 years immediately preceding his death and that their common-law relationship of man and woman had broken down at the time of his death.

Justice Chang, in his ruling, said that the burden of the proof lay on the siblings to prove that the defendant did not qualify under the 2012 Act to be granted the Letters of Administration to the estate.

He said the court was not at all satisfied that Stoll was not living together with Greene for at least five years preceding his death and that the court was also not at all satisfied that the relationship between the deceased and the defendant, which had exceeded a duration of 5 years, had terminated at the time of the deceased’s death.

Attorneys Kim Kyte and Sharon Small appeared for Stoll, while attorney Hubert Rodney appeared for the Greene siblings.

 

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