Father-in-law unlikely to revive claim to fortune

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 April, 2007, 12:00am

Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum once said she wanted to leave all her personal fortune to charity. She also expressed an ambition to set up an international prize similar to the Nobel prizes.

But last night it remained a mystery how the HK$32.7 billion estate that made her Asia's richest woman and placed her 204th on the international rich list would be distributed.

Solicitor Jonathan Midgley, who represented her for more than two years during criminal investigations, said he had always found her to be an extremely conscientious and agreeable client, but declined to comment further on legal issues that could arise following her death.

Whatever is in the will - assuming she left one - her father-in-law Wang Din-shin is unlikely to be able to resurrect his bitterly contested claims over her estate, a senior barrister said.

Mr Wang, who lost a nine-year legal battle with his daughter-in-law in 2005, could make a claim only if he could establish himself as a dependant, the barrister said.

If there is a valid will, Nina Wang's estate will be distributed according to her wishes, the barrister said.

If she died without a will, the assets will be distributed to her next of kin, according to intestacy provisions under the law.

Given that she had no children, her estate would pass to, in descending order, her brothers and sisters, her parents, her aunts, uncles and grandparents.

In-laws are not provided for under intestacy laws, the barrister said.

'[The father-in-law] cannot revisit issues which have already been disposed of by the court [of Final Appeal]', the barrister said.

Nina Wang's brother, Kung Yan-sum, a doctor, could not be contacted yesterday. His clinic in Tsing Lung Tau, Tsuen Wan, was closed. A note posted outside said it would reopen on Monday. It gave no explanation for the closure.

Dr Kung was attacked by four men in 2005, the night before the Court of Final Appeal delivered its judgment on the fate of the HK$24 billion estate of Nina Wang's late husband, Teddy Wang Teh-huei.

Nina Wang said six years ago she would give her personal fortune - excluding her Chinachem stake - to charity. Twenty years ago she was quoted as saying she might set up a prize similar to the Nobel prizes and create a trust to donate all her money to 'the country'.