If a deceased dies without a will, can a sibling who passed away before the deceased be entitled to the distribution of the deceased’s estate?
GAN CHENG KHUAN V GAN KAH YANG & 2 ORS  7 AMR 317
- Gan Cheng Khuan (“Khuan”) is the administrator of the estate of Gan Cheng Keong who passed away on 27 March 2009 (“Deceased”).
- Gan Kah Yang and 2 others (“Nephews”) are the children of one Gan Cheng Yee (“Yee”), who is the eldest brother of the Deceased. Yee had passed away before the Deceased on 27 January 1979.
- Khuan claimed that pursuant to section 6(1) of the Distribution Act 1958 (the “Act”), only the siblings of the Deceased living at the time of the Deceased’s death are entitled to the Deceased’s estate. As Yee had passed away before the Deceased, Khuan argued that the Nephews are not entitled to the Deceased’s estate.
- This dispute was brought to the High Court.
- The question for determination before the High Court was whether only the siblings of the Deceased who were living at the time of the death of the Deceased are entitled to the distribution of the Deceased’s estate.
- The High Court held that the Nephews are entitled to their late father, Yee’s share in the estate of the Deceased although Yee had passed away before the Deceased.
- Khuan appealed to the Court of Appeal.
COURT OF APPEAL DECISION – APPEAL ALLOWED!
The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and held as follows:
- The Court of Appeal held that only the siblings living at the death of the Deceased were entitled to the Deceased’s estate.
- Since Yee was not alive on the date the Deceased passed away, the Nephews being the children of Yee were not entitled to the share in the Deceased’s estate.