Whether a will was invalidated on account of suspicious circumstances surrounding the making of the will?
TOB WENG KEONG & ANOR V TOB CHEE HOONG  1 LNS 545
- The testator [person making a will] (“Grandfather”) had 3 sons – Tob Chee Mun (“Mun”), Tob Chee Choong (“Choong”) and Tob Chee Hoong (“Hoong”).
- Choong’s children, Tob Weng Keong (“Keong”), Tob Weng Kin (“Kin”) and a daughter have always lived with Grandfather, their grandmother together with Mun’s wife and daughter up to the Grandfather’s demise.
- Before the Grandfather’s demise, he was admitted to Institut Jantung Negara for an operation.
- During the period he was in hospital he made a will under which Keong and Kin were appointed as the executors and beneficiaries under the will (“Executors”). The will in question was prepared by the family’s lawyer.
- Clause 2 of the will gave the Executors “all my movable and immovable future assets”.
- After the Grandfather’s demise, the Executors filed an action at the High Court for a declaration that clause 2 under the will included current assets and for probate to be granted to them.
- Hoong, the third son of the Grandfather challenged the validity of the will on the ground that there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the making of the will and disputed the Executors’ claim for the declaration sought.
- After a full trial, the High Court dismissed the Executors’ action and found that (i) the will is not valid as there were suspicious circumstances in its execution and (ii) Clause 2 of the will referred to future assets and did not bear the meaning ascribed to it by the Executors.
- The Executors appealed to the Court of Appeal.
COURT OF APPEAL DECISION – APPEAL ALLOWED IN PART!
The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part, by finding that the Executors had dispelled the suspicious circumstances surrounding the making of the will as the findings of fact in the High Court clearly showed that the Grandfather had knowledge and approved the contents of the will. However, the Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court that Clause 2 of the will referred to future assets and did not bear the meaning ascribed to it by the Executors.