Interesting twist in tussle over patriarch's will

Interesting twist in tussle over patriarch's will

A 60-year-old man who is suing his older sister and niece over his father's will found out in April 2010 that his father was having an affair with a young woman from China, the High Court heard yesterday.

Three months later, Mr Lian Kok Hong, who has two sons, took the 91- year-old to his lawyer's office to sign a will leaving his house in Siglap, his key asset, to Mr Lian's sons.

This will was revoked in December 2010 by the patriarch, who was taken to another lawyer by his second daughter to make a new will, this time leaving the house to his wife of 70 years and the rest of his $7 million estate to all six grandchildren.

Mr Lian, the youngest of three siblings and only son, found out about this only in 2011 from his father, when the old man wanted to change his will again, but without letting his wife and daughters know.

According to Mr Lian, his father wrote a will by hand in August 2012, which he told his son to hide so the other children would not pester him.

Under this will, each grandchild was to get $100,000 and the house was to be sold, with five million yuan (S$1 million) of the proceeds to be remitted to his hometown in China and the rest to charity.

The last two wills are now being contested in court to determine which one represents the true wishes of Mr Lian Seng Peng, who died in 2012 at the age of 93.

Mr Lian yesterday denied a suggestion by Mr Leo Cheng Suan, the lawyer representing his sister and niece, that he had asked his father to change the will in his favour in 2012.

"There is no 'in my favour' in this will at all," he replied.

Mr Lian also reluctantly revealed details of his father's affair when questioned on the revoked July 2010 will.

He testified that he had confronted his father and told him to stop seeing the woman, whom he gauged to be in her 20s based on a photo.

Mr Leo, linking Mr Lian's discovery of the affair and the July 2010 will he initiated, suggested that he was concerned that his father's mistress could inherit the property.

Mr Lian, the managing director of a chemical company, said he was not worried about assets so much as the woman blackmailing his father.

Mr Lian wants the court to declare that his father's handwritten will in August 2012 is valid. His sister, Madam Lian Bee Leng, 64, and niece Wee Hui Ying, 46, are putting forward the December 2010 will as the valid one.

Mr Leo played video clips of the patriarch speaking from his hospital bed in 2012 to show that he was unhappy with his son and daughter-in-law.

But Mr Lian said his father was trying to please the other parties to have peace in the family. He added that his father had also complained to him about his mother and sisters.

This article was first published on Jan 22, 2015.
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