Stepmother sues natural family over son's estate

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2012, 12:00am


The elderly stepmother of a late doctor is claiming half of his HK$44 million estate after she earlier lost a claim against his natural mother.

Ho Sin-ying, 83, yesterday reopened a lawsuit over Tsang Kwong-lik's estate by applying for financial provision out of his estate.

In 2009 the Court of Final Appeal ruled that his wealth should go to his natural mother Leung Lai-fong because he left no will, his wife died before him and they had no child. The top court affirmed that the meaning of 'mother' in the Intestates' Estates Ordinance meant a natural mother and not a legal mother.

Ho is now asking the High Court to grant her HK$22 million of the estate of her stepson, who died in 2001, to cover her remaining years, estimated at seven by her lawyer. As Leung, the natural mother, is dead, Ho is suing Leung's daughter Chan Yui-ling, her estate executor.

Ho said outside court: 'I took care of my son [Tsang] since he was three. I looked after him when he was sick, I provided him with an education ... and I chose his coffin.

'My heart broke when I lost my beloved son. Why should I lose also the money I earned by sweating blood throughout my whole life? I want justice.'

Ho's lawyer told the court that her stepson gave her HK$20,000 a month before he died. He also paid for expenses including travelling costs, taking the monthly financial provision to an average of HK$45,000.

Mr Justice John Saunders said the money needed to support Ho's life over the next seven years would be just over HK$1.6 million and said it would not be wise for the parties to argue it in court as they might run up a legal bill greater than the claim.

The hearing was briefly adjourned for the parties to engage in further talks but the two families could not come to terms.

Ho, who was refused legal aid, told the court that she had contributed to her son's investment in property and wanted the money back, though she did not say how much was involved.

Lawyers for Chan, daughter of the natural mother, said the doctor had never claimed dependent parent allowance in his tax returns and suggested that he did not give Ho a monthly allowance of HK$20,000.

Lawyers for Chan also suggested that Ho's daughter Tsang Yau-mei, a half sister of Tsang Kwong-lik, had removed about HK$10 million from the bank account of a company of which the siblings were directors, only a day before Ho launched her lawsuit.

The hearing continues.


Amount, in HK dollars, Ho Sin-ying is asking the High Court to grant her from the estate of her stepson