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Row over taipan’s fortune arises

03:27 PM February 14, 2019

His last will and testament left out a non-Chinese wife and disinherited a controversial daughter who had been disowned for alleged “irregular” financial dealings.

Based on a document obtained by the Inquirer, Ty Siao Kian (the Chinese name of George SK Ty) had signed a last will and testament bequeathing his estate to Mary Vy Ty-described in the document as his “legitimate” wife- and ensuring the legitime or compulsory inheritance of their children, Arthur, Alfred, Anjanette and Alesandra. These four were cited in the document as the tycoon’s “legitimate” children

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The three-page will and testament dated Sept. 23, 2015, completely disinherited Margareth Ty Cham-described  as a “natural” daughter, alleging the latter’s “maltreatment” of the tycoon “by word or deed.” This daughter was also accused of leading a “disgraceful” life.

Specifically, Ty Cham was accused of having entered into “questionable” and “irregular” financial transactions that caused the late tycoon and his family “much pain and embarrassment.”

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“To save the Ty family name and reputation, extreme and painful steps had to be taken to attempt to settle the huge obligations of approximately P2 billion,” the document said.

To recall, the Ty family issued in 2017 a controversial public notice stating that the Ty family or any of the companies under the group would no longer recognize any transaction entered into by Margaret.

The same document said Ty had bequeathed the free portion of his estate to Mary Vy Ty and designated her to be the executor of his last will anıd testament. In case of default or incapacity, Arthur Ty was designated as successor, followed by Alfred Ty.

The document made no mention of 82-year-old Lourdes de Lara Ty, mother of Margaret and another son, Anthony, who is now based in the United States. Unlike the 78-year-old Mary Vy Ty who had been favored by the late tycoon’s parents, Lourdes is not of Chinese descent.

Armed with the late tycoon’s last will and testament, Mary Vy Ty filed with the Regional Trial Court of Makati on Dec. 12, 2018, a petition for the probate of the will and her appointment as the administrator of Ty’s estate.
Probate refers to the process of establishing the validity of the will.

Mary Vy Ty’s petition estimated the estate of the late tycoon at P3 billion. The tycoon had founded or put up local banking giant Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., Toyota Motor Philippines and Federal Land, among others. Most
of the family’s crown jewels are now under listed holding firm GT Capital Holdings Inc.

Law firm Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz acts as Mary Vy Ty’s legal counsel through lawyers Regis Puno, Antonio Eduardo Nachura Jr. and Reynold Orsua.

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Jose Virgilio Bautista, legal counsel of Lourdes de Lara Ty, said in an interview with the Inquirer that Lourdes and the late George SK Ty were married on Nov. 14, 1961, in Hong Kong. He also disputed Mary Vy Ty’s
reference to Anthony and Margaret as “illegitimate” children. This marriage was subsisting when another subsequent marriage to petitioner Mary Vy was entered into, making the latter void. Under the law, therefore
Lourdes de Lara Ty is the surviving spouse of the late George and as such is entitled to her conjugal share of the estate and to her legitime as compulsory heir in the hereditary estate,” he claimed.

The purported will left out Lourdes and Anthony and seeks to disinherit Margaret without sufficient grounds. The exclusion of these compulsory heirs, depriving them of their legitimes, renders the will void,” said
Bautista. 

Bautista, the dean of John Wesley School of Law at Wesleyan University- Philippines in Cabanatuan, vowed to defend the right of these “compulsory heirs” as the legitimate and lawful first family. Margaret is also opposing the probate of the purported will, Bautista said saying that the grounds for her disinheritance “did not have any basis in
fact nor in law.”

“The legal Filipina wife, Lourdes de Lara Ty, cannot be deprived of her conjugal share, nor of her legitime from the estate of the late GT. If the will provides otherwise, then it can be successfully challenged in the probate
proceedings as void,” he said.

The first hearing on Mary Vy Ty’s petition for the probate of the will is scheduled on Feb. 20.

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