We know you would prefer not to have to think about it at all if you could, but have you ever considered how long it would take for you to get your inheritance if your parents died without a will?
Would you know what to do or how the process works?
Most people would assume that it would be as simple as showing up to the bank with proof that you are related to the deceased. Unfortunately, the process is actually much more complicated than that.
Letter Of Administration & The Appointment Of An Administrator
If your parents left you with a will in place, things would be much simpler. Even so, it would still take at least 3 months for you to get the Grant of Probate and for the executor to distribute their assets.
If your parents died intestate (without a will), it could take up to 2-5 years! This is due to the lengthy process required to obtain the “Letter Of Administration” and to appoint an “Administrator” to administer the estate.
A “Letter Of Administration” is an authority given under the seal of the court for the administration of the estate of a person who has died without a will and an “Administrator” is the person appointed to administer the estate.
Agreement Among Beneficiaries
All legal beneficiaries, as provided for under the Distribution Act 1958 (Amended 1997), are eligible to be appointed as the administrator (unless the person is a declared bankrupt or is mentally unfit to do so).
However, the administrator can only be appointed if all the legal beneficiaries to the estate consent to it. If there is a disagreement between the legal beneficiaries as to who should be the administrator or if there is any trouble locating or contacting any one of the legal beneficiaries; the process would be delayed further.
Even without any disagreement between beneficiaries, the entire process can take up to 2 years or more. With time, stock holdings could have depreciated and potential property transactions scraped.
The Distribution Act 1958 (Amended 1997)
If a person dies intestate, their estate would be distributed according to the Distribution Act 1958 (Amended 1997), which dictates the way a person’s estate is being apportioned and distributed according to various circumstances such as the survivorship of the deceased and in which order should assets be apportioned depending on the priority of the beneficiaries.
Because things aren’t as straightforward as it would be if the deceased left a will, it could take some time for the court to assess and verify the situation before it can make an order for the assets to be legally transferred to the beneficiaries.
The Lengthy Process Can Have Consequences
In conclusion, if someone dies without a will, it can take a long time before their legal beneficiaries can legally receive ownership of their share of the inheritance.
This can cause problems to be beneficiaries because assets like houses (which the beneficiaries might still be living in) and stock holdings will be frozen until the entire ordeal is over.
Read Also: Why Is It Important For You To Have A Will?
Having A Will Will Expedite The Process
If a will existed, the entire process would usually only take anywhere from 3 months to a year depending on the size of the estate, as opposed to 2-5 years if the deceased died without a will.
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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.