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The Law and You
Read the following case study carefully and answer the questions that follow:-
Peter and Susan have been happily married for 18 years. They have 2 lovely sons. Peter has a successful career. Peter’s company has recently posted him to the US for 5 years to build up their new office there. Susan and the children remained in Singapore while Peter worked in the US. Their sons were 15 and 17 years old when Peter left to work in the US.
Before leaving for the US, Peter hurriedly made a Will on his own, leaving all his assets to his wife, Susan. He left it to Susan to take care of their sons. As he needed 2 persons to witness his Will, he asked Susan to be one of the witnesses. The next day, he brought his Will to the office and asked his colleague to sign as the 2nd witness. He then left his Will with Susan, and left for the US.
Peter has the following assets in Singapore:
(1) A bungalow in Yio Chu Kang area
(2) 5 bank accounts in his sole name
(3) Several investments in shares and commodities
(4) 2 luxury sports cars, which only he drove
(5) 2 SUVs for the family to use
Susan and Peter held the title of the bungalow as joint-tenants. She also had 3 joint bank accounts with Peter. None of the cars were registered in Susan’s name
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While working in the US, Peter met and fell in love with Mona, a beautiful blonde who worked in his company. Peter lied to Mona that he was divorced. Mona and Peter got married in the US, and they started a family. 5 years passed by. Peter maintained his 2 families separately, and managed to keep them both happy. His wives lived happily with him whenever he was with each one of them.
In the US, Peter bought a home by the beach, a luxury yacht and 5 luxury cars, all of which were in Peter’s sole name. He also had a healthy bank account in his sole name. Mona and Peter had 2 lovely daughters. Mona stopped working to care for their daughters. Peter gave her full access to his bank account in the US.
Since Peter travelled to Singapore frequently, at Mona’s suggestion, Peter made a Will through a lawyer in the US. In his Will, Peter left his assets in the US to Mona and his 2 daughters in equal shares. He also stated in his US Will that his half-share of the bungalow in Singapore will be given to Mona. He gave his US Will to Mona for safekeeping.
Susan found out about Peter’s family in America and started divorce proceedings to dissolve the marriage. Susan asked for maintenance for herself and their 2 sons, and for half of Peter’s assets in the US.
Mona was shocked and shattered when she saw the divorce papers that Susan served on Peter in the US. Mona took her 2 daughters and left Peter.
When Peter was flying back to Singapore to attend the divorce hearing, he suffered a heart attack and died on the plane.
Apply your knowledge of both Family Law and the Law of Succession to answer the following questions.
You may assume that Peter’s US Will is valid under Singapore laws.
Where necessary, please cite the relevant laws that you are applying and state the effect of the laws on the set of facts that you have been given.
3.1. What was the status of the marriage of Peter and Mona? (In about 40 – 50 words) [5 marks]
3.2. Briefly explain whether the Will made by Peter in Singapore is valid. Please state your reasons for your conclusion. (In about 100– 150 words) [5 marks]
3.3. State the ground on which Susan could have applied to Court to dissolve her marriage with Peter. Identify the most probable supporting fact that Susan might have cited against Peter in her divorce application. (In about 40 -50 words) [5 marks]
GSP165 Tutor-Marked Assignment
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3.4. Briefly explain the status of the marriage of Peter and Susan. (In about 20 – 30 words) [5 marks]
3.5. Would Susan, the lawful wife of Peter, be able to take all his assets in the US? State the reasons for your answer. (In about 50 – 100 words) [10 marks]
3.6. (a) Identify the lawful beneficiary of Peter’s bungalow in the Yio Chu Kang area. Apply the relevant laws and state your reasons for your conclusions as to who was, and who was not, the lawful beneficiary of the house. (In about 60 – 80 words) [5 marks]
(b) What if the Singapore Will were valid? How would your answer to (a) above be different? (In about 40 – 50 words) [5 marks]
3.7. State clearly who would inherit Peter’s other assets in Singapore, and the proportions that each beneficiary would take of each asset. Please cite the relevant laws and apply them to the facts clearly, stating which beneficiary would inherit what proportion of Peter’s estate in Singapore. (In about 150 words) [10 marks]
3.8. State whether Mona’s daughters would be listed as lawful beneficiaries of Peter’s estate in Singapore.
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