An 80-year-old widow has sued her eldest grandson over a $4 million Farrer Road family home which is in the sole name of her husband.
A four-day hearing into the suit filed by Madam Lim Hoon Neo against her 39-year-old grandson, Mr Ang Wee Chai, began in the High Court yesterday.
Madam Lim is claiming a 60 per cent stake in the two-storey terraced house, which her husband had willed to their youngest son and eldest grandson. Mr Ang Ho Sai, who died at the age of 83 in 2014, did not mention her in his will. He appointed Wee Chai as the sole executor of his estate.
Madam Lim's suit came after Wee Chai sought a court order to sell the property and for his grandmother and two uncles to vacate the house. He contends that he is trying to fulfil his grandfather's wishes.
The late Mr Ang and Madam Lim married when he was 18 and she, 14. They had five children, but one died in 1982.
In the 1950s, Madam Lim worked as an amah at the Alexandra Hospital with a monthly salary of $96 but she stopped working after she had her third child. Her husband initially worked as peon in the British army but later ran a car rental business and a watch business.
While he paid for household expenses, Madam Lim said she supplemented the household income by renting rooms in their old zinc-roofed house, selling home-made rice wine and making friendly loans to neighbours.
In the suit, Madam Lim Hoon Neo contends that even though her husband is the sole registered owner, she owns 60.3 per cent of the house based on her contribution. She is asking the court to declare that she has the right to live in the house until it is sold, and that she should get 60.3 per cent of the proceeds.
In 1967, Madam Lim said they agreed to buy the Farrer Road house for $36,500. She claimed she contributed $22,000 in cash, or 60.3 per cent, towards the purchase price.
Her lawyer, Mr Tan Siah Yong, said in his opening statement that at the time, the house was put in her husband's name as he was the head of the family and was the one handling the transaction.
The couple lived in the house with their children until most of them married and moved out.
In the suit, Madam Lim contends that even though her husband is the sole registered owner, she owns 60.3 per cent of the house based on her contribution.
She is asking the court to declare that she has the right to live in the house until it is sold, and that she should get 60.3 per cent of the proceeds.
Wee Chai, who is represented by Mr Darrell Low and Mr Samuel Wee, said Madam Lim and two uncles have been thwarting his efforts to administer the estate.
This included refusing to cooperate with his attempts to sell the property in accordance with the will. He contends that his grandmother's High Court suit is just another attempt to block his efforts.
The trial continues.