The firm acted for the litigation representative of a wealthy widow suffering from dementia. The widow, whose estate is valued at over S$40 million, was the subject of acts of manipulation and undue influence exercised by a Chinese tour guide to procure his appointment as the widow’s donee under a Lasting Power of Attorney. The Chinese tour guide carried out acts of misappropriation of the widow’s monies and other assets and in due course procured a will in which the widow bequeathed her entire estate to the Chinese tour guide.
As part of the legal proceedings, a worldwide Mareva Injunction was obtained against the Chinese tour guide and his wife.
Other successful court applications included applying to the Family Justice Courts to revoke the Lasting Power of Attorney and obtaining a court order under the Mental Capacity Act for a statutory will to be made on behalf of the widow bequeathing the majority of the estate to charity, thereby revoking the previous will.
The statutory will application, which was handled on a pro bono basis, was made under Section 23(1)(i) of the Mental Capacity Act, which grants the Family Court the power to order the making of a statutory will on behalf of a person in accordance with the person’s best interests.
Prior to this case, there had been only been one reported case of a statutory will application in Singapore. Guidance was sought from the equivalent provisions in the UK Mental Capacity Act, English authorities and parliamentary debates. The Chinese tour guide’s appeals to the High Court and Court of Appeal against the statutory will decision were dismissed.
During the course of the protracted legal proceedings against the Chinese tour guide, numerous other court applications were also heard by the Court of Appeal, High Court, State Courts and Family Courts.
On 6 February 2017, judgment was obtained against the Chinese tour guide in the Singapore High Court. The case received widespread media attention. The case was also cited in parliamentary debates during the passing of a Bill to amend the Mental Capacity Act to allow the Court wider scope of powers to revoke or suspend the powers of a donee or deputy and to allow professional donees to be appointed under a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Reported decisions for this case:
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