Heirs accuse their father's widow of exploiting his illness and seizing 3 million dirhams

The Al Ain Court of Appeal upheld a ruling by the Court of First Instance that rejected a lawsuit filed by the heirs against their stepmother, in which they requested to oblige her to return three million and 187 thousand dirhams, which she withdrew through an ATM card during his illness.

The heirs of the deceased filed a lawsuit against one of their father’s wives, and requested that an expert be delegated from the court to “discuss the elements of the case and calculate the usurped estate’s money, which was unlawfully seized from the defendant,” indicating that they discovered after the death of their inheritor, and they reviewed his accounts with the bank for the last six years ( period during which he was staying with the defendant only), that she received his ATM card and withdrew millions of dirhams.

They said that she was managing their father's money during this period, and the fact that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The report of the accounting expert assigned by the court showed that the total sums withdrawn from his accounts via the ATM card during the six-year period amounted to three million and 187 thousand dirhams.

The plaintiffs submitted a final memorandum through which they sought a ruling to oblige the defendant to pay them the money that she unlawfully obtained from the money of their bequeather, and to pay them one million dirhams in compensation for material and moral damage and loss of earning.

A court of first instance dismissed the case, and obliged the plaintiffs to pay the expenses. It based its judgment on the fact that the period during which the plaintiffs claim that the defendant withdrew sums of money from the account of their inheritor was during which the latter was still alive, and the plaintiffs did not provide evidence that he was incapacitated or interdicted. It can be said that the defendant took advantage of his health or mental condition and appropriated his money.

This judiciary was not accepted by the plaintiffs, so they appealed it, and they blamed the appealed ruling for violating the right of defense and violating what was established in the documents, because their heir was suffering from behavioral disorders, dementia in advanced stages, and Alzheimer’s, and he was not able to rely on himself and manage his affairs.

In turn, the Court of Appeal indicated that it is established in the Civil Transactions Law that every person is eligible to contract unless his capacity is taken away or limited by law, noting that what the appellants claim regarding the health condition of their inheritor and the inability to rely on himself and manage his affairs, does not deprive his will or make him incompetent to act as he wishes.

Nor can it be considered a symptom of eligibility, given that the principle is that an adult person remains fully competent until it is taken away from him or he is bound by a judicial ruling to interdict him.

And since the appellants had refrained from presenting a judgment of interdiction against their inheritor, it follows as a result that all his actions during his life are held to be valid, including his handing over his bank cards to the appellee - his wife - or his disposition of his money through her as he wishes without restriction or condition.

The court decided to accept the appeal in form, reject it in substance, and uphold the appealed judgment.

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