By Peter Lee
After all the family members of Lee Sr’s estate agreed to appoint a Trust Company replacing three existing administrators namely John Lee, Michelle Lee and Connie, Dave (the family Lawyer) was instructed to proceed with the application to the High Court to withdraw their names and replacing them with the Trust Company. Upon the family’s instruction, Dave prepared the letter of renunciation for the three existing administrators to sign. As soon as the three existing administrators signed these letters, Dave went on to discuss with the Trust Company representative on the list of assets which have been submitted to the High Court previously. He said, “The estate have both local and overseas accounts. I can only list down those under sole and joint names which are frozen.
There are some other joint accounts which some of the family members refuse to reveal. I believe the monies in these accounts would have been withdrawn. This was one of the reasons for the delay in my application for their Letter of Administration (L.A.).” The Trust Company representative then said, “I think we have to leave out for now those accounts. However, I will inform them again on the importance of disclosing all assets of Lee Sr’s estate to avoid any dispute. Anyway, I will prepare a letter for the signature of all the family members to agree not to dispute any assets which some of them refused to reveal on the list. Now, as you are aware that the money in Lee Sr’s sole name accounts in the local banks would not be a problem for distribution once L.A. is obtained. With regards to the bank accounts in overseas countries such as Singapore, Australia and U.K., we would have to wait for the High Court to issue the L.A. and then proceed with the application for a resealing order with this L.A. to the relevant courts in these respective countries. Otherwise, we could arrange to apply the L.A. directly with the respective overseas countries.”
To this Dave replied, “I will leave it to you to decide on what is the best option for the estate since your Trust Company has been appointed as the Administrator.” The Trust Company representative continued and said “The distribution for the joint name bank accounts will be the same as the sole name. But as you know, our Trust Company could only take Lee Sr’s portion for distribution while the rest of the amount in those accounts will be given back to the respective joint account holder irrespective whether they are in Local or Overseas banks.”
Then Dave said “I have to tell you that there is a problem with a joint name bank account in the Singapore bank. The account is in the joint name of Lee Sr and Mrs Patricia Lee (Lee Sr’s first wife). The amount in this bank account is S$3 million which Mrs Patricia Lee has withdrawn. This is where Connie wants to claim for her entitlement on Lee Sr’s portion and they were in the midst of negotiating for this amount in exchange for Connie’s consent to renounce her claim on her entitlement to the shares of three family companies. As you know, both the administrators, John and Connie ended up in an accident before this matter was resolved.” The Trust Company representative then said “Since this is a problematic area, Mrs Patricia Lee has to release this amount to us to avoid any legal suit by Connie.”