If your life is going to end soon, what you want the most
“If your life is going to end soon, what you want the most?”
We had handed a contested estate matter before. The husband and wife married about a year, and the husband passed away while he was doing his exercise at gym. He accidentally fall down from the treadmill and knocked his head.
After settling her husband funeral, the wife then apply to the court as administer to manage her husband estate. Unfortunately, then her mother in law and sister in law i.e. the mother and sister of her late husband turned out to challenge her whether she is suitable to be the administrator.
The mother-in-law basically listened to the sister-in-law and the sister-in-law tried to persuade the mother to challenge the validity of the wife and husband. Wife felt shocked. In fact, the wife explained numerous times to the mother-in-law their marriage is valid as it is registered in the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara(JPN). However, the mother-in-law brought up the issue that the wife forgot to bring her Identification Card during the registration of the marriage as the reason to challenge the validity of the marriage. At the same time, the mother-in-law applied to the court to be the sole administrator for the estate of her son.
The wife, then tried to discuss with the mother-in-law to become the joint administrators but the mother in law refused.
In court, the wife met the mother in law and said “Mum, how are you? Let sit down to discuss.” Mother-in-law said “Get away, don’t you ever try to touch my son estate”. The sister-in-law was watching this and keep quiet and in fact we all knew that the sister-in-law is the mastermind in behind.
The mother-in-law aged 78 at that point of time and there was no reason for her to fight all the estate of the son and the only reason of fighting is to get the estate for her daughter. The sister-in-law, is unemployed and not willing to look for a job, depending on her mother to survive.
In law, when someone passed away without a will, the survived wife and parents are eligible for a portion of the estate and that make the sister-in-law forced the mother-in-law to fight in the court with the wife.
In the court, myself as the lawyer managed to speak to the mother-in-law with the approval of the opponent’s lawyer. I asked the mother-in-law what you want? She said “I want justice, I want estate of my son” I asked her what do you meant by justice? Is your son’s wife not entitling a portion? Is your son’s wife kill your son?”
The mother-in-law kept quiet. She started understand which direction I was coming. Eventually, under the influence of the sister-in-law, the mother in law still want to fight in court.
No matter, we managed to help the wife to get the portion she was entitled.
Sometimes, I will ask myself, if knowing the fact that I am going to die soon, what will I want? In fact this question popped out in my mind numerous time, I guess the answer will be I still want to work for my client.
By Lawyer Khoo