In The Name of My Father’s Estate (Episode 26)

By Peter Lee

John and Michelle Lee (children of the first family) contacted their mother, Mrs Patricia Lee, for a meeting once she returned to Malaysia from Singapore after she withdrew the entire amount of S$3 million from an account jointly owned with her husband (Lee Sr). When John and Michelle met their mother, John said, “Mum, do you remember at our earlier meeting with Connie (Lee Sr’s 2nd wife) you said you were willing to distribute father’s 50 per cent portion according to intestacy law if she and her children were willing to renounce their rights to the shares in our family companies?” In response, Mrs Patricia Lee said, “Yes, I did say that but I don’t think she is going to walk away from her family’s entitlement of shares in our family companies without a fight. So, I want to use this to bargain with her.” Michelle then said, “By doing this, I am not sure who will be at the losing end.” Mrs Patricia Lee then asked, “What do you mean by that?” Michelle responded and said, “Well, we are now in the midst of applying for the Letter of Administration (L.A.) and three of us (that is, John, Michelle and Connie) are the Joint Administrators. So, what all of us understand from Dave (lawyer) is that once L.A. is obtained, the entire estate of father’s, which is now frozen, will be collected and transferred to the Administrators first. Now, three of the assets which will be transferred are shares from three of our family companies. So, do you think she is going to renounce if we have created a hostile situation like now?”

In response to this, Mrs Patricia Lee said, “Can you guys tell her to let this go. After all, she can take her entitlement in your father’s two bank accounts in Malaysia amounting to RM5 million together with the rest of the accounts in Australia with a sum of A$6 million and the other one in U.K. with a balance of £2 million.” John intervened and said, “I think it won’t be that simple. To withdraw the overseas accounts will take some time because we need to sort out the application for L.A. in Malaysia first. Anyone at this point, especially Connie, is going after any liquid cash that is available now.”

“Apart from this, we still have father’s shares and unit trust investments locally and overseas to deal with. As I remember, the other major part of the distribution is the three properties owned by father alone which were charged to the bank and another three more jointly owned by you and father. So, can you see how messy and fragmented the distribution can get and virtually everything in father’s estate will have her name and her children’s as well on it. Now, do you still want to hold on to your money which you have withdrawn, or distribute father’s 50 per cent according to intestacy law? This is to say giving back her family’s entitlement. Mum, I feel that if you hold on to the Singapore money, it will be very difficult for me and Michelle to negotiate with Connie on who is going to renounce or keep which type of assets.” Mrs Patricia Lee said, “Ok! As far as I am concerned, I want her to renounce her entitlement to our companies’ shares and my properties jointly owned with father before I release her entitlement of the money from Singapore.”

To be continued…

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