WillApril 23, 2024by Kai Xin YeohCan Foreigners write a Will in Malaysia?

Making a Will is like setting up a roadmap for what happens to your assets after you pass away. But for foreigners residing or possessing assets in Malaysia, a pressing question arises: Can foreigners write a Will in Malaysia?


Legal Framework

Malaysia has a legal system that govern wills and estates, with the Wills Act 1959 specifying the formalities and requirements for a valid will. While the law allows foreigners to draft wills in Malaysia, understanding the legal complexities and consequences, especially regarding assets in Malaysia, is crucial.


Jurisdictional Considerations

One big concern for foreigners is the jurisdiction of their assets. Every country has its own specific law, such as the Distribution Act 1958 in Malaysian law, governing asset distribution within this country. Making a Will in Malaysia ensures compliance to these laws, which can provide a smoother probate process for your family.



Making a will in a language familiar to the testator is imperative to minimize misunderstandings and ambiguity. In Malaysia, if a Will is not in English , it needs to be translated and certified by a Court Interpreter or verified by an affidavit from a qualified translator.


Estate Planning and Tax Implications

Making a Will in Malaysia allows foreigners to consider local estate planning strategies and tax implications. Malaysia currently imposes no inheritance taxes. However, it is essential to seek for professional advice to understand potential tax implications in the testator’s home country. It is important to consider any tax obligations that may arise in the testator’s home country to ensure comprehensive estate planning.


Appointment of Executor

Selecting an executor familiar with Malaysian laws and procedures is pivotal in will drafting. The executor plays a crucial role in carrying out the testator’s wishes and managing the estate accordingly .


What if a foreigner does not have a Will in Malaysia, but possesses asset in Malaysia?

If the foreigner has their Will in their home country, then their executor/administrator must reseal the grant of probate/ letter of administration in Malaysia. Resealing is a legal process that validated a foreign-issued legal document in Malaysia. Malaysian law only allows grants issued in any part of the Commonwealth to be resealed in the High Court of Malaysia. If the grant is issued from a non-Commonwealth country, then the representative must apply for a Letter of Administration in Malaysia. This process may take a longer compared to executing a Will made in Malaysia. However, it must adhere to Malaysian governing law to ensure the proper distribution of assets.


By proactively securing their legacies in Malaysia, foreigners can ensure  their wishes are honored and assets safeguarded for their next generation. Additionally, having a clear and legally sound Will in Malaysia not only provides peace of mind during one’s lifetime but also eases the burden on loved ones during a difficult time. It is a vital step toward ensuring that one’s legacy is preserved and passed on according to their wishes, fostering a lasting impact for future generations.

You may make an appointment with our legal advisor here: https://calendly.com/finex-and-co-legacy-advisory/tea-talk-with-legalexpert


Join Us Now

Join Us Now

Edrian Chin Yik Rong - Legal Advisor of Finex & Co Legacy Advisory
Megan Lo Su Yee - Legal Advisor of Finex & Co Legacy Advisory
Chua Pei Shan - Legal Advisor of Finex & Co Legacy Advisory
Emmeline Lee - Chief Legal Advisor Profile