Having picture, name in funeral brochure not enough proof of marriage-Court tells woman

The case of the appellant, Madam Mercy Blanc in the case against Administrators of the deceased Selwyn Okoe Boye’s estate, was anchored on the claim that she was a surviving spouse

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

The Court of Appeal has denied the claim of validity of the customary marriage of a woman to a deceased partner premised solely on the appearance of her name and picture in the latter’s funeral brochure.

According to the judgment available on Dennislaw, the woman was expected by the court to proffer enough proof of her marriage to the deceased partner per the four essential elements of customary marriage as outlined by Ollenu(J) in the case of Yaotey v Quaye.

High Court

The case of the appellant, Madam Mercy Blanc in the case against Administrators of the deceased  Selwyn Okoe Boye’s estate, was anchored on the claim that she was a surviving spouse.

She claimed that she sojourned to Switzerland and upon her return to Ghana, met the deceased, and both customarily got married on 22/12/2007 in Accra after which she moved into the matrimonial home at 18th Ebenezer Crescent, Mamprobi, Accra.

Further to this she insisted that the deceased had then registered a company under a sole proprietorship, trading under the name and style of Valindes Ventures. 

Since the deceased was at the time a public officer working with the Customs, Excise, and Preventive Service he transferred the business into her name and permitted her to run it.

On the part of the respondents, they never pleaded that the appellant was never married to the deceased or that she lived in concubinage with the deceased. 

Rather, they claimed that they were married but that they were divorced before the demise of their late father.

However, Madam Blanc insisted in her pleadings that upon the demise of Selwyn, the family came to an agreement to put her name and picture in the brochure as the surviving spouse and thus entitled to a share of the estate.

The trial High Court held for the respondents.

Court of Appeal

Madam Mercy Blanc Aidoo then went to the Court of Appeal demanding among others the true account of all sums of monies received by the deceased’s children.

Additionally, she sought an order directed at them for the deceased’s properties to be distributed per PNDCL 111.

In addition to the issue of the subsistence of the appellant’s marriage to the deceased, two other issues that came up at the trial were;

The validity of Exhibit 5 which Madam Aidoo claimed to be evidence of the transfer of the said company to her before his death.

Also, the respondent children alleged the collection of the sum of GHc 444, 980.00 taken by the appellant from GETFUND and some customers of the deceased’s company.


In its judgment, the appellate court in the opinion of Bright Mensah(JA) and supported by Dzamefe(JA) and Bartels-Kodwo(Mrs) held that the appearance of a woman’s name and image in a funeral brochure does not necessarily constitute proof of customary marriage.

Their Lordships arrived at this decision owing to the failure of the appellant to offer any valid proof of a subsisting marriage to dispel the claim of the respondents.

Additionally, it was held that Exhibit 5, purporting document of transfer of the deceased’s company to Madam Blanc Aidoo, is fake.

Finally, the respondent's claim relative to the appellant’s collection of money from GETFUND and other customers of Valindes Ventures, the deceased’s company, was upheld.

In the end, their Lordships awarded a cost of GHc 10,000 in favor of the respondents.

Visit Dennislaw to read full judgment.