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Cousin Accused In Inheritance Battle

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Richard Howe is trying to get his inheritance back.
When the Florida man's father, Ralph Howe, died in his Jamaica house in December 2001, he and his brother, Kennedy Howe, called a cousin who lived nearby to walk the estate through the court system.
But the cousin, Marquilla Ferguson, went into Queens Surrogate court and claimed the more than $280,000 estate as her own, Richard Howe now says.
"Rather than help us obtain our share of the estate, as she agreed, Ferguson decided to help herself to stealing the entire estate by filing false affidavits with the Surrogate's Court," Richard Howe said in a petition filed in court.
Ferguson, Ralph Howe's niece, at first said that Kennedy Howe was in prison for trying to kill his father and that she was the next of kin.
She later signed an affidavit saying that Ralph Howe had another son, a man named Eric Howe, according to court papers. She never mentioned Richard Howe.
Kennedy Howe was in prison when his father died, according to state Department of Correction records. But Ferguson should have known that Richard Howe was the next nearest relative, he said, because they practically grew up together.
The court named Eric Howe administrator of the estate, allowing him and Ferguson to enter the father's Jamaica house and sell it for $200,000, according to Richard Howe's petition.
"She just cleaned it out; she took everything," said Richard Howe's lawyer, Susan Chana Lask. "My client lost pictures, everything. She said she split it between her, Eric and some of her family."
Richard Howe, 35, who is unemployed and says he needs the money, will have his day in court at a hearing scheduled tomorrow morning at Surrogate's Court.