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Artist's Widow Submits on Estate Division

Song Meiying, widow of the deceased Chinese artist and entrepreneur Chen Yifei, has lodged her proposal to the court on how to divide her husband's estate, after asking for legal intervention in the distribution last week.

Attorneys for both sides said the key point of the case right now is how to accurately determine the amount of the estate to distribute.

Song's proposal, filed on Monday, asks that Chen's estate be divided into two portions one based on the period before Chen married Song in 2000, and another afterward. The section of the estate that existed before they married should be equally distributed among Chen Lin (Chen's eldest son), his ex-wife Zhang Zhi, Chen Tian (Chen and Song's son) and Song herself.

Song proposed that half of the estate that existed after they married should be hers, while the other half should be split among all three heirs.

The estate involves Chen's properties, paintings and corporate shares.

The court will announce whether it will accept the case by next Monday.

"Actually, Song's current request for the division is in accordance with the law and always remained our principle in the previous negotiations with Chen Lin on the division," said Tao Wuping, Song's attorney.

Li Xiaolong, Chen Lin's lawyer, agreed. "But the negotiations between Song and Chen Lin before Song's suit mainly focused on the calculation and evaluation of Chen's estate but not on the distribution," he said.

Since Chen Yifei died in Shanghai on April 10, leaving no will, the division of his estate has been in the spotlight.

After Song and Chen Lin reached an oral agreement on the distribution in July, Chen Lin informed attorneys that he would seek 50 per cent of his father's estate instead of 22.5 per cent agreed to orally.

He said his share should also include the money Chen promised to give his ex-wife Zhang when they divorced in 1990, which amounts to US$2 million.

In her original lawsuit, Song revealed that Chen's fortune in China totaled up to 43 million yuan (US$5.3 million). She also claimed that she is not clear about the value of Chen's estate overseas.

(China Daily November 17, 2005)

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