Re Tan Chwee Boon (Deceased)

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtFederal Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date10 February 1966
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No Y3 of 1965
Date10 February 1966

[1966] SGFC 3

Federal Court

Wee Chong Jin CJ

,

Tan Ah Tah FJ

and

F A Chua J

Civil Appeal No Y3 of 1965

Re Tan Chwee Boon, deceased
Plaintiff
Yap Suat Tee and others
Plaintiff
and
See Cheng Choo Cherie
Defendant

Eric Chia (Oehlers & Choa) for the appellants

C F J Ess (R C H Lim & Co) for the respondent.

Probate and Administration Ordinance (Cap 17, 1955 Rev Ed) ss 18, 19, 21, 22 (consd)

Probate and Administration–Grant of letters of administration–First widow and children petitioned for grant of letters of administration to deceased's estate–Whether to grant letters of administration to first widow and children or to trust corporation–Whether special circumstances existed to pass over the first widow and children–Sections 18 (3) (a), 19, 21, 22 Probate and Administration Ordinance (Cap 17, 1955 Rev Ed)

The first widow and her two children with the deceased petitioned for the grant of letters of administration to the estate of the deceased. The second widow of the deceased opposed the petition. She asked that the estate be administered by a trust corporation as the estate was large and her children were infants. The trial judge considered what was best for the due and proper administration of the deceased's substantial estate and held that the circumstances demanded the appointment of an independent trust corporation. The first widow and the children appealed.

Held, allowing the appeal:

(1) Having regard to s 18 (3) (a), and ss 19, 21 and 22 of the Probate and Administration Ordinance (Cap 17, 1955 Rev Ed), the husband or widow or next of kin or any of them were entitled to letters of administration. In special circumstances, the court had the discretion to appoint as administrator some person other than a person entitled to the grant of administration: at [5].

(2) The trial judge had applied the wrong principle. The proper principle was to consider whether there were such special circumstances that the court should exercise its discretion to pass over persons entitled to letters of administration and appoint some other persons in their place. The fact that the deceased's estate was a substantial one and the children of the second widow were minors did not constitute such special circumstances as would enable the court to pass the appellants over: at [6].

(3) The grant of letters of administration to the trust corporation was set aside. Letters of administration were granted to the first widow and the children...

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