Handwritten note versus will signed at law firm

A 60-YEAR-OLD man who is in a dispute with his older sister and niece over his father's will told a court yesterday why a handwritten note represents the patriarch's true wishes.

That note, written in secret in 2012, contradicts a document drawn up in 2010 which the two women insist is the true will of Mr Lian Seng Peng.

Mr Lian Kok Hong said that on a visit to his father in June 2012, the 93-year-old man handed him an envelope containing a will he had written by hand at night so that nobody else at home would know about it or pester him about it.

When Mr Lian, the only son of three children, told his father that the will had to be signed in the presence of two witnesses, the older man told him to arrange it.

Two months later, Mr Lian, the managing director of a chemical company, visited his father with five employees, with the aim of getting two of them to be the witnesses.

Pictures were taken as the old man signed the will in his room with only the two witnesses present.

Mr Lian also took pictures of his father with all five employees as a memento.

Mr Lian is contending that this is the valid will of his father, who died in December that year.

In it, the old man left $100,000 to each of his six grandchildren, and called for his house in Siglap, the main asset of his $7 million estate, to be sold and the proceeds donated to charity.

Mr Lian's second sister Lian Bee Leng, 64, and niece Wee Hui Ying, 46, are putting forward the will that Madam Lian had arranged for her father to sign at a law firm in December 2010.

In this will, he left the house to his wife of 70 years, and the rest of the estate to his grandchildren.

The defendants contend that the patriarch was gravely ill, not of sound mind and under pressure when he made the 2012 will.

Yesterday, their lawyer, Mr Leo Cheng Suan, asked Mr Lian if he was disappointed that the house would not go to his sons in the will he is propounding.

"I'm very happy it's for charity," he replied.

Justice Judith Prakash asked Mr Lian if he thought his father should have left something to his mother.

No, he said. "My father always told me that my mother has money... more than enough," he said.

Although he did not know how much she had, he said he believed his mother had enough to live on.

Mr Lian also disagreed with Mr Leo's contention that his father was so seriously ill in 2012 that relatives from China had flown in to see him.

The hearing continues.


This article was first published on Jan 23, 2015.
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