SINGAPORE - The late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s will was not drafted by the law firm of his daughter-in-law Lee Suet Fern, said his younger son Hsien Yang on Friday (June 16) afternoon.
He made three posts on Facebook throughout the day in response to a statement published the night before on Thursday by his elder brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, on the dispute between the Lee siblings over their father’s house at 38 Oxley Road.
PM Lee had said their father’s final will was made in troubling circumstances, and asked if there was a conflict of interest when Ms Lee Suet Fern helped prepare it since her husband Hsien Yang stood to gain from the removal of his sister Wei Ling’s extra share in the last will.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang said his wife’s firm Stamford Law Corporation - now known as Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC - did not draft any of his father’s wills. “The will was drafted by Kwa Kim Li of Lee & Lee,” he said, referring to the sequence of events surrounding the final will.
Ms Kwa is his cousin and a lawyer at Lee & Lee, the firm his parents had co-founded.
He said the will’s seventh paragraph, in which his father stated that he wanted his house demolished after his death, “was drafted at LKY’s (Lee Kuan Yew’s) direction”. It was “put into language by Lee Suet Fern, his daughter-in-law, and when he was satisfied he asked Kim Li to insert it into his will”, he added. On his father’s “express instructions in writing, two lawyers from Stamford Law were called upon to witness his signing of the will”.
PM Lee had questioned why the demolition clause was included in the final will, when it was not in the fifth and sixth wills.
PM Lee also asked why his sister-in-law said at the reading of the last will on April 2015 that the late Mr Lee asked her to prepare the last will, but she got a lawyer from her law firm to do so instead as she did not want to get personally involved.
The lawyer was Mr Ng Joo Khin, who was present at the reading of the last will on April 12, 2015, after Mr Lee Kuan Yew died.
PM Lee asked who instructed Mr Ng on the last will.
His brother Hsien Yang replied: “The estate of LKY instructed Stamford Law to extract probate. Ng Joo Khin’s role in that was to read the will to the beneficiaries.”
To extract probate is to have the will recognised as final and legally binding. Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister Wei Ling are executors of their father’s estate.
He said in a Facebook post on Friday morning that he and his sister made similar points on Feb 28 this year to a ministerial committee set up to to look into options for 38 Oxley Road. “LHL’s secret committee ignored it,” he added.
In another Facebook post in the evening, he said “this secret committee is entirely uninterested in exploring options for the house, instead focusing solely on challenging the validity of the demolition clause in LKY’s will”.
He said “personal family disputes” were matters for the family courts, not a ministerial committee, and Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s wish to demolish the house was well-known.