1. Whether illegitimate children (born out of wedlock) are entitled to claim maintenance from the Deceased’s estate?

The relevant provision in Inheritance (Family Provision) Act applies to legitimate children, which includes adopted children but does not included illegitimate children.

In AAG v Estate of AAH, deceased [2009] SGCA 56, the Court of Appeal discussed whether illegitimate children has a claim in deceased’s estate for maintenance. The factor the court took into account is that to allow  an illegitimate child to claim maintenance from the deceased’s estate is equivalent to allowing an illegitimate child to make a direct claim for a share in the deceased’s estate which is contrary to the Intestate Succession Act that only allows claim from legitimate children.

  1. What about step-children and whether they are entitled to claim from the deceased’s estate?

The court’s position on claims by step-children is similar to illegitimate children.

In Low Guang Hong David and others v Suryono Wino Goei [2012] SGHC 93, the HC respected Parliament’s intention in which there was no discussion of provision for step-children during their parliamentary debates or reports. HC reminded the importance of a will in the event a step-parent wishes for the step-child to get a share of his estate.

  1. Whether illegitimate children entitled to inherit under their mother’s estate?

Illegitimate children are entitled to inherit part or whole of their biological mother’s estate. However, they can do so only if the mother dies without a will and she has no legitimate children. This shows the existence of a priority in inheritance where the illegitimate children usually rank below the spouse of the deceased and their legitimate children.

In Lim Weipin and another v Lim Boh Chuan and others [2010] 3 SLR 423[2010] SGHC 99, the HC stressed the importance between biological child and legitimate child. Plaintiff in the case was the biological  daughter but an illegitimate child of the deceased. She was unable to provide sufficient evidence to show that she was legitimised in accordance with the law even though her parents were married to each other. As such, her claim failed.

  1. Whether adoption of an illegitimate child by an unwed biological mother legalises a child born out of marriage?

Adoption is the great equaliser and will treat the biological mother and child as lawful parents. Usually such adoption takes place after the Husband/Wife marries the spouse who is not the biological parent of the child so that the spouse becomes the legal parent of the child. Child must get new birth certificate with the adoptive parents’ name.