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Published: Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 8:54:20 AM

Heirs to fortune from bungalow sale step forward

PERRY Koh was at work two Sundays ago when one of his three sisters called and asked him to read the day’s papers.

A report in The Sunday Times had stated that an old bungalow in Katong had recently been sold for almost S$4mil (RM10.4mil), and the estate’s trustee was searching for eligible beneficiaries of the proceeds.

Memories of his childhood came flooding back when he saw the photograph.

“I remembered visiting the home during Chinese New Year with my family and climbing its stairs,” said the 49-year-old.

Koh’s great-great-grandmother Wan Chin Neo had bought the property in Carpmael Road in 1937 for the then princely sum of S$1,900 (RM4,900).

The small house today looks out of place in a row of newer private homes.

Koh had already been aware of the estate and his lineage. His father Walter, 80, is among the 15 – all descended from Koh Hoon Teck – who had already stepped forward to stake a claim to the estate, so he is unlikely to get a share.

But spurred by nostalgia and encouragement from relatives, the manager of a luxury watch shop told Rockwills Trustee that he and his four siblings wanted to be considered for a share of the money.

He is among Wan’s great- and great-great-grandchildren – many of whom are retirees – that the estate planning and trust firm said it is largely dealing with in its search for heirs.

The search, which has included tombstone inspections at the Bukit Brown cemetery and a newspaper advertisement last month, had been a challenge as Wan and her three children were all long dead.

None of them had left a will, meaning the money should be shared by their descendants, who must first be traced.

Koh and his siblings are among at least five living descendants of Wan who have stepped forward following the report on Dec 8.

Rockwills Trustee’s chief executive Lee Chiwi, assisted by Goh Kok Yeow of law firm De Souza Lim & Goh, will do a further search of court records and approach the High Court for an order to distribute the money to those who come forward – and are eligible under inheritance rules – by Jan 1. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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