Woman without pain lives in poverty on two small pieces of land after she missed her father's estate of $ 5 million because she had not been legally adopted by him
- Sheralee Seule MacGowan, 26, has no right to share in her deceased father's estate
- A judge found that Sheralee had a moral claim to the estate, but not a legal claim
- Her father's two nieces received the rest of the estate and half his QLD home
A judge discovered that Sheralee MacGowan had a moral claim on her father's estate, but had no legal leg to stand up
A woman from Vanuatu is not entitled to the estate of her adopted father of $ 5 million after a court found that she had not been legally adopted.
Sheralee Seule MacGowan, 26, was left with only two small plots of land on the 185-hectare estate of her deceased father Ken MacGowan in Vanuatu.
The 26-year-old now lives with her three young children on the property in a dirty room without running water or electricity.
But Mr. MacGowan's two nieces got the rest of the estate, as well as half of his house in Queensland, worth a combined $ 5 million, The courier post reported.
In the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Chief Judge Catherine Holmes said that although she had a moral claim to her father's property, she had no legal leg to stand up for.
& # 39; She and Mr. MacGowan had a strong affective relationship in which she very much considered him the role of father and in many ways he treated her as a daughter, & # 39; said Chief Justice Holmes.
MacGowan adopted Sheralee in 1993 when she was a baby after taking part in a ceremony, which she believed was a common adoption in court.
Sheralee Seule MacGowan was raised by the Queensland man Ken MacGowan, but is no longer entitled to his fortune after a court discovered that she had never been legally adopted
Chief Judge Holmes discovered that MacGowan gave her relatives an ox in exchange for Sheralee, and promised to take care of her.
MacGowan was closely involved with Sheralee & # 39; s mother Rachel Seule, who was also his housekeeper.
When Mrs. Seule died in 1999 after a long fight against cancer, Mr. MacGowan took care of the six-year-old Sheralee and moved the couple to Queensland.
Experts in the area of the Vanuatu law told the court that the usual adoption required a ceremony with food exchange and an explicit intention.
Justice Holmes discovered that Mr MacGowan, as a foreigner, could not have adopted Sheralee under the usual Vanuatu laws.
There are also indications that Mr MacGowan and Sheralee's family never spoke that he usually adopted her.
& # 39; I think the 1993 ceremony was not perceived by the parties to it, Mr. MacGowan and members of the Seule family, as a common adoption, & # 39; said Chief Justice Holmes.
Justice Holmes said that Seule's mother had not given up her parental status and that accepting Mr. MacGowan's responsibility for Sheralee was not an adoption.
& # 39; The agreement was only one of custody until (Sheralee) turned 18, not of taking the position of a parent, with the sustainability that that entails, & # 39; said Justice Holmes.
& # 39; MacGowan considered his duties to (Sheralee) dismissed after her minority had ended. & # 39;
The 26-year-old was left with two small plots on his 185-hectare estate in Vanuatu, where she now lives with her three young children in a dirty room without running water or electricity
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