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Application On Family Law And Administrative Law In The Case Study Add in library

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Questions:

Professor Kingsfield, 53, and his wife, Angela, 50, had no children of their own. Professor Kingsfield was well-liked by all his students in his university.

The two of them were a loving couple. Angela and Kingsfield owned a house, a good quality bungalow, as joint-tenants. It was a beautiful house that they lived in for many years. Since they had no children, they invited Kingsfield’s aged mother (his only surviving parent) to live with them. Angela took very good care of her mother-in-law. Kingsfield’s only sibling, his brother, Arthur, visits their mother at Kingsfield’s house often.

Angela’s only surviving immediate family member was her sister, Dorothy. Her parents passed away long ago. Her brother, Ken, also passed away in 2010, leaving behind two daughters, Kate and Paula, who were very fond of Angela. Angela’s nieces, Kate & Paula, often stayed over in Angela’s house during school vacations.

Kingsfield owned other assets, such as his BMW X5 car, three (3) sole bank accounts and an antique collection worth $2 million.

Angela, too, had her own assets, such as her Mazda 6 car, two (2) sole bank accounts and lots of jewellery of gold and precious stones.

Unfortunately, since 2011, Kingsfield and Angela started having frequent quarrels. They separated from each other when Kingsfield moved out of the house and stayed with a friend. 4½ years later, Angela applied for divorce. Kingsfield said that, although he did not contact her in the past 4½ years, he still loved her, and would prefer not to consent to her application for divorce. The Court was going to hear the case on 15 May 2015.

On 5 February 2015, Kingsfield and Angela were on their way to visit Angela’s dying grandmother in the USA. They agreed not to tell her grandmother that they were separated. Unfortunately, the plane that they were travelling in crashed. When the search and rescue team arrived at the scene, they were both found dead.

Neither of them had made a Will.

The family was in total shock and disbelief. After the funeral matters were settled, the family members had to attend to the estate matters of Kingsfield and Angela.

Applying your understanding of the family law and the laws of succession in Singapore, please examine:-

1. Examine the status of the marriage between Kingsfield and Angela at the date of their deaths.

2. Kingsfield wished to oppose Angela’s application for divorce, i.e., he did not want to consent to the divorce. If the case had been heard by the Court, please cite the laws that would have applied to their divorce proceedings, i.e., what grounds and/or reasons could Angela have given for her application. Also state whether or not, in your opinion, Kingsfield could have successfully opposed her divorce application, since he stated that he still loved Angela.

3. Examine the status of each of the family members of the dead couple mentioned above, and state whether he or she would be a beneficiary of the estate of Kingsfield or Angela.

a) You may wish to identify each of the assets of the deceased persons, and apply the relevant laws to trace the beneficiaries.

b) Please cite any laws or presumptions at law that you apply in arriving at your conclusions.

c) Please address all the relatives mentioned in the set of facts above, and the proportions, if any, that each one would inherit.
 
 

Answer:

1. At the time of death of Kingsfield and Angela, the status of their relationship was married to each other. As per the Divorce Act of Singapore, if a spouse lives separated for more than four years then the consent of that spouse is irrelevant as to their divorce, but it only can be granted by the court at the time of hearing, unless the hearing is done that couple shall be considered as married. Here the divorce has not been granted by the court before their death.  

2. If the case is heard by the court then the consent of Kingsfield would have been irrelevant to divorce, as they are leaving separately for more than four years. As per the Divorce Act of Singapore, if any married couple leaving separately for more than a period of four years then no consent from the part of the defendant is required for granting divorce to that married couple. Here they are leaving separately for four and a half years, consent of defendant that is Kingsfield, is not mandatory for divorce (Lawsociety.org.sg, 2015).

According to my opinion, the law is appropriate, and Kingsfield should not have the right to oppose the divorce, as if he would have love his wife then could not get separated for such a long period (Brown, 2012).

3. a) As per the information provided, both of them, Kingsfield and Angela, left their movable properties. For Kingsfield, his BMW X-5 car, all the deposited amounts in his three bank accounts and the antiques worth $ 2millions, and for Angela, her Mazda 6 car, all the deposits in her two bank accounts, and all the jewelries she left (Moncreiffe of that Ilk & Armstrong, 2010).

All the properties left by Kingsfield, shall be acquired by his mother (Le Bas & Lawrence, 2011).  His mother is the only beneficiary for all of his belongings. According to rule 5 of the INTESTATE SUCCESSION ACT, if any person died leaving his parent or parents and no other descendants then his property shall be acquired by the parent of the deceased person. As per this rule, all the properties of a deceased person shall be distributed among his parents, if there is only one parent alive then it shall be vested to that parent, unless the spouse or any children of the deceased person is alive (Kang & Leong, 2012). Here, Kingsfield had no children, and his spouse died along with him, though he had a brother but according to the provisions of succession law in Singapore, his brother is not entitled to inherent his property when his mother is alive (Konrad & Skaperdas, 2005).  

Properties in the name of Angela shall be acquired by her sister Dorothy and children of her deceased brother, Kate and Paula (Spierin, Fallon & Pearce, 2003). As per rule 6 of the INTESTATE SUCCESSION ACT, if any person died and the spouse or parent is no more, then all the properties of that person shall be acquired by the brother and sisters and children of deceased brother and sister (Goldsmith, Comita & Chua, 2011). Here, Angela died along with her husband, and her parent are also died, she don’t have any children also, for that reason in accordance to the rule prescribed in the statute, her sister and the children of her deceased brother, Kate and Paula, shall acquire the properties left by Angela (Miller, 2010). 

b) The statutory provision prescribed the factual way of distribution of property of any person died intestate. As per the specified rules of the concern statute the above conclusion made. Here, both of them, Kingsfield and Angela died intestate but the rule of distribution of property is not the same for both of them, though they died along together as intestate and they did not have any children as their legal heir, the way of their distribution of property will not be the same, it mainly depends upon the heirs, after their death Kingsfield left his mother and brother. Angela left her sister, nieces, and grandmother. Depending upon that the properties belong to Kingsfield shall be distributed under one rule and the properties in the name of Angela shall be distributed in another rule. By virtue of that beneficiary persons would be different. There must not be any confusion regarding the evaluation of the properties as well as proper way of distribution. In case of the distribution of the properties belonged to Kingsfield, all the properties vested in the name of his mother, and his brother, Arthur will not get anything. In case of the distribution of properties belonged to Angela, all of her belongings shall be acquired by her sister, Dorothy and her nieces Kate and Paula (Heath, 2003).

c) Kingsfield and Angela died together, leaving some of their relatives who can acquire their properties. They did not have any children. From the part of Kingsfield, his mother and his brother, Arthur was left behind; Angela left her sister Dorothy, daughters of her deceased brother, Kate and Paula, that is her nieces, and her grandmother.

Under this particular scenario, the properties belongs Kingsfield and Paula shall be distributed in accordance to the rule 5 and rule 6, respectively, as specifies in the Intestate Succession Act (Peloso, 2003). In case of the distribution of the properties belong to Kingsfield , his mother shall be entitled to acquire all of his properties and his brother, Arthur shall not posses any of them, unless his mother is dead, as prescribed in rule 5 of the statute. In case of the distribution of the properties in the name of Angela shall be acquired by her sister, Dorothy and her nieces, Kate and Paula. In this distribution half portion of the entire property which is left by Angela shall be possessed by her sister Dorothy and the rest of the half portion of the property shall be equally distributed among her two nieces, Kate and Paula (Woon, 2010).  

 

References

Brown, K. (2012). Hu Jintao. Singapore: World Scientific.

Goldsmith, G., Comita, L., & Chua, S. (2011). Evidence for arrested succession within a tropical forest fragment in Singapore. J. Trop. Ecol.27(03), 323-326. doi:10.1017/s0266467411000010

Heath, C. (2003). Intellectual property law in Asia. London: Kluwer Law International.

Kang, S., & Leong, C. (2012). Singapore perspectives 2012. Singapore: World Scientific.

Konrad, K., & Skaperdas, S. (2005). Succession rules and leadership rents. London: Centre for Economic Policy Research.

Lawsociety.org.sg,. (2015). The Law Society of Singapore > for Public > You & the Law > Divorce. Retrieved 22 February 2015, from https://www.lawsociety.org.sg/forPublic/YoutheLaw/Divorce.aspx

Le Bas, T., & Lawrence, R. (2011). Singapore. Singapore: APA Publications.

Miller, J. (2010). Species Distribution Modeling. Geography Compass4(6), 490-509. doi:10.1111/j.1749-8198.2010.00351.x

Moncreiffe of that Ilk, I., & Armstrong, J. (2010). The law of succession. Edinburgh: John Donald, with assistance from St. Andrews Fund for Scots Heraldry.

Peloso, J. (2003). Intellectual property. Bronx, N.Y.: H.W. Wilson Co.

Spierin, B., Fallon, P., & Pearce, R. (2003). The Succession Act 1965 and related legislation. Dublin: Butterworths.

Woon, W. (2010). The Advocate's Devil. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish.

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