Lee Kuan Yew gave 'express instructions' to revert to first version of his will, says Lee Hsien Yang

Lee Kuan Yew gave 'express instructions' to revert to first version of his will, says Lee Hsien Yang

38 Oxley Road 2
38 Oxley Road. (Photo: Howard Law)

SINGAPORE: Lee Kuan Yew gave "express instructions" that his final will of December 2013 be a reversion to his 2011 will, the founding Prime Minister's youngest son, Lee Hsien Yang, said on Saturday (Jun 17) regarding the dispute between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings over their late father's Oxley Road home.

PM Lee had raised "grave concerns" about how his father's last will had been prepared – in particular, the removal and subsequent re-insertion of a clause stating the late Mr Lee's wish that the house be demolished after his death.

"I am not aware of any facts which suggest that Mr Lee was informed or advised ... about all the changes that were made when he signed the Last Will, or that Mr Lee was properly advised about the contents of the Last Will," PM Lee said in a statutory declaration to a ministerial committee tasked to consider the future of the house.

"In fact, there is no evidence that Mr Lee even knew that the Demolition Clause had been re-inserted into the Last Will," the Prime Minister said.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said: "The demolition wish in his 2011 will was introduced after Lee Kuan Yew’s meeting with Cabinet."

"My father's Final Will of December 2013 was a reversion to his 2011 will on his express instructions," he said.

Mr Lee said that the execution of the final will was "done openly" and PM Lee was "kept in the loop".

The younger Mr Lee also responded to PM Lee's observation that it had taken less than 15 minutes for the final will to be executed.

"It was a four-page document (Mr Lee Kuan Yew) had seen before and was familiar with," Mr Lee Hsien Yang said, adding that the line spacing of the document "was not dense".

He also cited a file note by the two lawyers from Stamford Law, his wife's law firm, who witnessed the signing.

The lawyers "noted that 'LKY read through every line of the will and was comfortable to sign and initial at every page, which he did in our presence'", Mr Lee Hsien Yang said.

He reiterated that the proper place to challenge the final will was in court. 

"The Final Will was filed in court and once probate is granted, the hurdle to challenge a will is considerably higher. (PM Lee) would’ve been advised of this by his then-personal lawyer, Lucien Wong, and did not choose to challenge the probate process in any way."

PM Lee had said in his statutory declaration that he "did not challenge the validity of the Last Will in court because (he) wished, to the extent possible, to avoid a public fight which would tarnish the name and reputation of Mr Lee and the family."

On Saturday, his brother pointed out that probate hearings could be heard "in camera", or behind closed doors.

"The proper venue for challenge is in court," Mr Lee Hsien Yang said.

His latest comments come amid questions over who prepared Mr Lee Kuan Yew's final will.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang earlier said that Stamford Law did not draft any of his father's wills, and that the final will had been drafted by Ms Kwa Kim Li of Lee & Lee.

Ms Kwa refuted this on Friday. "No, I did not prepare the last will," she said in response to a query from Channel NewsAsia.

Source: CNA/rw