A Bulawayo teacher has taken her late husband and her four step-children to court challenging her exclusion from a will purportedly left by the deceased.
Ms Violer Van Eyssen, who is the surviving spouse of the late Kenneth Gilbert Eyssen, is challenging the validity of the will, which stipulates that she can only inherit cutlery from the matrimonial property.
She had been living with Kenneth for 29 years and they had been married since January 2007 in terms of Section 5:11 of the Marriages Act. The husband died last year in April.
Ms Eyssen is unhappy that her stepchildren inherited the house in Trenance including her matrimonial bed and blankets which she shared with her late husband.
Through her lawyer Mr Bruce Masamvu of Mutatu, Masamvu and Da Silva-Gustavo Law Chambers, Ms Eyssen filed an application in terms of the Administration of Estates Act at the Bulawayo High Court, citing the late Kenneth Gilbert Eyssen’s estate, her stepchildren Lorrain Gerlach (nee Eyssen), Sharon, Rodney, Belinda, and the Deputy Master of the High Court as respondents.
In her founding affidavit, Ms Eyssen said the last will and testament of the late Kenneth Gilbert Eyssen contained clauses which disinherited her of their matrimonial home and assets including the bed and blankets, which she shared with her late husband.
“This is an application for an order declaring the last will attested to by the late Kenneth Gilbert Eyssen invalid and that his estate be registered and finalised intestate. The last will and testament of the late Kenneth Gilbert Eyssen contained clauses which disinherited me of the matrimonial home and assets including the matrimonial bed and all the blankets my husband and I shared,” she said.
“The validity of the last will and testament, therefore, comes into question when the assets of the late Kenneth Gilbert Eyssen, which rightfully according to the laws of Zimbabwe are to be awarded to me, being the deceased’s surviving spouse, are given to someone else.”
Ms Eyssen wants an order declaring the will left by her husband null and void, arguing that it contradicts natural justice principles.
She said the Deputy Master of the High Court has no authority to determine the validity of the will.
Ms Eyssen said if the estate is to be allowed to proceed as per the last will, it would effectively render her a destitute.
“I would lose my matrimonial home which I have stayed in since 1991. I will also suffer irreparable prejudice as I was the only one working as a teacher in the family and taking care of the deceased and our matrimonial home for years until my husband died,” she said.
Ms Eyssen wants the will accepted by the Deputy Master of the High Court on July 27 set aside. “Wherefore, I believe I have laid down a good case warranting the nullification of the will. I therefore pray for an order declaring the will null and void,” she said.
Ms Eyssen said in the event that the respondents oppose her application, they should pay her legal costs. The respondents are yet to respond. The Chronicle