ISSUE 4/2023 - Illegitimate Children Have Equal Estate Distribution Rights:
In the Malaysian Federal Court case of TAN KAH FATT & ANOR v. TAN YING, the main issue confronting the court concerned the right of illegitimate children to inherit under the laws of intestacy in this country.
The Federal Court, after much detailed consideration and analysis, found that the second appellant was a legitimate child and was entitled to inherit under her late father’s estate. The FC concluded that a child of a void marriage shall be treated as the legitimate child of his parent if, at the time of the solemnisation of the marriage, both or either of the parties reasonably believed that the marriage was valid.
Further, the FC concluded that, in any event, s.6 of the Distribution Act 1958 does not require that a beneficiary to an intestate estate must be a legitimate child.