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Kuek Siang Wei and another v Kuek Siew Chew
[2015] SGCA 39
. Decision Date: 13 Aug 2015

(By the way, this is how it works with SLW (Singapore Law Watch): they host the case decisions gratis for about 1-2 months, and if you hadn't downloaded it in time, then it all goes into Lawnet, which one has to pay to use. Thanks, SLW, you're a gem.)

This case caught my interest because:

(1) The dead guy (whose estate is being fought over) had a second wife and family that no one else in the official family knew about, until he died, so one of the speculations in the case is whether 2nd wife will be considered a common law wife (who will have to take out a separate application, I suppose, for it) and IF she is...

10. It would be evident that the Respondent, Mdm Lim and Siew Eng stood to lose the most if Mr Kuek's estate was distributed according to the Note instead of according to the intestacy regime set out in the ISA. If Mdm Goh was not recognised as a lawful spouse entitled to participate in the distribution of the estate under the intestacy regime, the Respondent and Siew Eng would each stand to lose about $2.1m and Mdm Lim, about $6.7m, by agreeing to abide by the Note instead of proceeding in accordance with the ISA; whereas if Mdm Goh was recognised as a lawful spouse entitled to particiate in the distribution of the estate under the intestacy regime, the Respondent and Siew Eng woudl each stand to lose about $662,500 and Mdm Lim, about $3.25m."

(Mdm Lim being the official spouse and Mdm Goh the... not.) Meaning that Mdm Lim's half share would have become a quarter share. That's a division I'd never even considered. I didn't catch any mention of either woman's age (Mdm Lim died before the trial) but I suppose this would be possible if the marriage(s) happened before the Women's Charter and customary marriages, even if polygamous, could have legitimacy.

(2) The solicitor advising the family (families?) who seemed to have favoured some members over others.

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