Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 04/26/2013 20:00 | By Channel NewsAsia

Widow takes stand against daughters in ugly spat over flat

Widow takes stand against daughters in ugly spat over flat

Widow takes stand against daughters in ugly spat over flat

SINGAPORE: The 91-year-old widow of scouting pioneer Dennis Goh Chin Chye, took the stand on Friday to show that she was coerced into making her daughters joint owners of a five-room flat.

The trial comes after mediation talks between Madam Eileen Chia Yoke Mui and her daughters - Yvonne Goh Mei Ling, 62, and Yvette Goh Meich'ang, 52, fell through.

Mdm Chia, who arrived in court in a wheelchair, is seeking legal aid to declare invalid the transfer of part of the property.

She insisted that it was never the intention of both her and her late husband to have their children as joint tenants while they were still alive.

She said she eventually relented as her daughters' "badgering and harassment" weighed her down.

Describing her elder daughter, Ms Yvonne Goh as "very domineering and very insistent", Mdm Chia said her repeated badgering was "oppressive".

Mdm Chia told the court that her daughter had been insisting on her name to be included in the property since 2005.

She added that this was Ms Yvonne Goh's main focus during her visits from the United Kingdom, where she currently resides with her family.

Mdm Chia also denied her daughter's claim that the transfer was her father's gift to her.

This was in response to a question posed by Mr Alfred Dodwell, from Dodwell LLC, the lawyer representing the two daughters, if Ms Yvonne Goh was Mr Goh's favourite child.

Mdm Chia maintained that she and her husband had intended to divide the estate equally amongst their four children, after they had passed on.

Mr Goh, who was a respected Anglo-Chinese School physical education teacher, died on 5 March at age 94.

Court documents revealed that in December 2009, the parents applied to make the sisters joint tenants as well in a transfer document.

While it is not disputed that she had signed the transfer, Mdm Chia argued that she did not have a chance to read the declarations and that they were not explained to her either.

She added that she did not know what she was doing when she signed the forms, as she "took for granted that others may be right so I followed."

She said this resulted in her not realizing that it impinged on her rights to deal with the flat.

This included being unable to sell or mortgage the flat without her daughters' consent.

Mdm Chia said this left her in a "very difficult position" as she might need the monies for living expenses.

Sometime in late 2011, Mdm Chia said she spoke to both daughters about removing their names.

Both refused, with Ms Yvonne Goh claiming that her mother sided with her two sons instead.

Mdm Chia is represented by Ms Suchitra Ragupathy from Rodyk & Davidson.

The trial continues on Monday. - CNA/ck

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