An article in highlights the importance of determining mental capacity, before an elderly person changes his or her estate plan. Madam Ng Lay Hua, a wealthy woman with multiple homes, made several wills, each one with significant differences. Upon her death, her elder son contested the will based on the state of her mental health. The estate was upheld by the High Court because there was insufficient evidence to prove that Madam Ng was mentally incapacitated when she made it.

The Making of Many Wills

Madam Ng Lay Hua was married to a powerful man, a founding director of Yeo Hiap Seng, a food and beverage company. As a result, she enjoyed significant wealth during her lifetime and owned three homes. She had two daughters and two sons, an older son named Charles and a younger named Henry. In her 2002 will, she designated that each of Charles’ children should receive one of the houses.

However, that wasn’t the last will she made. In the succeeding years, she made new wills, changing various elements of the plan every time. In 2012, she made younger son Henry her executor and removed her grandchildren from the will completely.

The Effects of Depression

Angered by the arrangement, Charles and his grown children proceeded to contest the will after Madam Ng’s death. They revealed that Madam Ng was suffering from severe depression throughout the last few years of her life— depression that may have clouded her judgement and influenced her choices.

The Judge’s Decision

The judge, however, did not see the situation the same way. He noted that Madam Ng previously expressed disappointment in her grandchildren. She was especially unhappy that her grandson chose to marry a non-Christian.

In contrast, her younger son Henry took care of her, chatting with her and taking her places. He went to church with her and shared her faith. It was likely that Henry became her favourite and that she wanted to express that tangibly by leaving him the bulk of the estate.

The Importance of Confirming Mental Capacity

It can be difficult to determine if an elderly person is truly capable of making big decisions involving the estate. Rather than relying on your own observations, you need the professional perspective of an expert psychiatrist in Singapore.

If you’re concerned about a loved one’s mental capacity towards the end of life, bring that individual to Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. Our top-notch Singapore psychiatrists and psychologists can evaluate elderly patients and determine whether or not they still have the mental capacity to make key decisions about their estate and other aspects of their lives.

Perhaps your loved one has recently made a will that you think might be contested at a later date. Bring that senior citizen to Adelphi for an evaluation so that a medical professional can confirm that the maker of the will is in full control of their faculties and able to make such decisions. With the help of a psychiatrist in Singapore, you can avoid some of the stress and hassles that Madam Ng’s family went through.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Straits Times, October 14, 2016