ENTITLEMENT OF NEPHEWS AND NIECES IN PARENTS’ SIBLING’S INTESTATE ESTATE – AN OVERVIEW
As the heading reads, the question is whether the nephews and nieces are lawful beneficiaries of their uncle’s and aunt’s intestate estate, that is, where the late uncle or aunt has not written a will in respect of the properties they have left behind. There is a dearth of case law in this area, probably because more often than not such matters might have been resolved amicably within the family circle. That is, of course, until the reported decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Gan Cheng Khuan v. Gan Kah Yang & 2 Ors  7 AMR 317 not so long ago, which held that nephews and nieces are not entitled to the estate of their late uncle on the grounds that their father had passed away before the intestate uncle. However, in the case of Pulogasingam a/l Veerasingam v. Paralogavathy & 8 Ors [ Rayuan Sivil No. A -02 (NCVC) (W) – 536 -03 /2018] which was heard a few days before the aforesaid case, wherein I appeared for the one of the appellant administrators, on similar facts, the Court of Appeal had held otherwise but unfortunately no reasons were given and neither is the case reported. In the light of the aforesaid, this article intends to explore the state of law of intestate succession involving parents’ sibling’s intestate estate vis-a-vis the nephews and nieces based on the provisions in the Distribution Act 1958 [Act 300 as modified by Act 1004A], the legal position in other jurisdictions and whether there is a need for legislative reform. Henceforth all references to words ‘section’ and ‘the Act’ refers to the Distribution Act 1958 unless stated otherwise.