Having a will made is important as it ensures that our loved ones get what you have left them without having to go through unnecessary trouble should we be unfortunate to leave the earth before them.
Read Also: Why Is It Important To Have A Will?
Let’s say we have finally decided to stop procrastinating and get down to writing a will, how do we do it?
Will’s Act 1959
In Malaysia, the writing and execution of wills is governed by the Will’s Act 1959. It is a set of laws passed by parliament to govern anything that has to do with wills.
Decide On Your Beneficiaries
The first thing you would need to do is to decide on who to give your assets to when you are no longer around.
It is also important to note that, if you are not planning to leave anything for family members that are provided for in the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1971, which includes your spouse, infant sons (below 21 years old), unmarried daughters and children with special needs; it is advisable for you to state your reasons in the will to avoid any potential claims from them.
Decide On Your Allocation Of Assets
Now that you have decided on who to give your assets to, you will have to specify how you would like to allocate and proportion them among the beneficiaries of the will.
Although it is possible to only give a vague direction in your will, such as all cash and liquid assets goes to X and all property holdings goes to Y; it is advisable for you to be as specific as possible (name the specific bank account or property title) in addition to the general direction.
This is to prevent any arguments about apportionment that might occur amongst your beneficiaries and to make it easier for the executor to call in your assets.
Make Sure To Include A Residuary Clause
If a specific property that you named in your will has been sold or no longer exists at the time of your passing, your will will still be valid. The only consequence of this is that the beneficiary that was supposed to inherit said property would not receive it because you no longer own it and is no longer in your estate.
However, if you accrued new properties or assets by the time of your passing and failed to include a residuary clause in your will; you will then be considered to have died partially intestate.
This means that your newly accrued assets that was NOT included in the will would be distributed according to the Distribution Act, as if you never had a will.
By default, most wills would include a residuary clause – a clause that specifies how unnamed or newly acquired assets should be apportioned and distributed; but it is always good to check that it is there just to be sure.
Will Writing Services
Once you have done that, you can proceed to get your will written at any one of the many will-writing service providers available.
It can cost anywhere from a few hundred ringgit to a couple of thousand depending on the complexity of the will. Usually, they would also provide trust management services if you would like to set up a trust fund.
Banks That Provide Will-Writing Services
Unknown to many, most major banks actually provide their own will-writing services.
Some of them might even include free will-writing services if you have a significant amount of deposit with them (usually more than RM100,000). Otherwise, they would usually cost a few hundred ringgit or so.
Trust Management Companies
If you have a huge family or a large estate that would require the setting up of a trust fund, then you might want to engage a trust management company to have your estate management planned out for you.
Contrary to popular belief, not all lawyers have the required expertise to draft a comprehensive will. Hence, make sure you engage a lawyer that is specialising in this particular field of law.
It is advisable to engage such a lawyer if you have special requirements in your will or a complex family situation.
Technically, you can actually write your own will, provided you know what constitutes a valid will under the Will’s Act 1959.
However, given the many intricacies and requirements that if omitted or committed, can invalidate a will. It is advisable for you to not attempt writing it yourself unless you have been legally trained in this discipline.
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DollarsAndSense Malaysia is a website that aims to help people make better financial decisions, one interesting, bite-sized article at a time. Like us on Facebook to stay in touch with our latest articles.