Court rules dead bride’s estate should go to her dead husband’s family

Golden handcuffs? Photo:

Judges in The Hague have ruled that the entire legacy of a new bride who died shortly before her husband, two weeks after their wedding, should go to her husband’s family.

Jeroen and Michou Venema died in 2016 on honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, probably from food poisoning caused by eating fish – although this is still disputed. Michou died on arrival at hospital and Jeroen two hours later.

Under Dutch law, all Michou’s estate – worth an estimated €200,000 according to the Telegraaf – passed to her husband. Jeroen’s family then went to court asking to be declared the rightful heirs.

A lower court ruled that in such exceptional circumstances, the couple, who did not have a will, would have wanted their assets divided between both families. However, Jeroen’s mother appealed, saying in legal documents she could do nothing ‘but follow the law’ because of the ‘potential legal and tax consequences of not doing so’.

Appeal court judges in The Hague have now agreed that Jeroen’s family should get the entire sum, in line with Dutch inheritance law.

Michou’s parents are ‘shocked and disappointed,’ their lawyer Mandy Kreber told the Telegraaf. ‘There is a difference between demanding your rights and justice,’ she said. ‘And this does not feel just to them.’

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