What is a Will and why is it important?
A will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s assets and estate should be distributed after their death. It’s crucial to ensure your assets are distributed as per your wishes.
p/s There is no centralized system in Malaysia for your beneficiaries to check the individual estate.
Does a Will need to be stamped?
No. A legally binding Will does not need to be stamped at the LHDN office.
Who can make a Will in Malaysia?
Any person of sound mind and is at least 18 years old (Peninsular & Sarawak) / 21 years old (Sabah) can make a Will in Malaysia.
Do I need a lawyer to create a Will in Malaysia?
The laws of Malaysia do not dictate that a Will must be prepared by a lawyer. As long as it is in written form and fulfil the requirements of the laws, it is considered as a valid and legitimate Will. It is still highly recommended to engage professionals, (eg. estate planners, will writers etc) in estate planning to ensure your Will meets legal requirements and is properly executed.
What Act governs a Will in Malaysia?
In Malaysia, a non-Muslim Will is governed by the Wills Act 1959 while a Muslim Will is governed by the Shariah Law.
What should be included in a Will?
A Will should detail how your assets, properties, and belongings are to be distributed among beneficiaries. It should also name an Executor, Guardian for minor children, and provide clear distribution instructions.
Why do I need to make a Will when I do not have many assets to pass on to my family?
Assets not only cover physical forms such as houses, shops, lands (i.e. properties), jewelries, motor vehicles but also include cash in bank, cash in hand, investments, EPF savings, insurance, copyrights, trademarks, shareholding and even any assets in digital form such as Bitcoins and domain names. All these physical and non-physical assets can be distributed according to your wish in your Will. You can also decide the guardian of your minor children and who are the beneficiaries to your assets.
Therefore, regardless of the value of your assets, writing a Will is about creating a legacy of love and protecting the assets you have. Moreover, over the years your assets may grow and your Will can cover future acquired assets and future inherited assets without re-writing it.
Can I change my Will once it’s written?
Yes. A will can be amended or revoked at any time before the testator’s death. Amendments can be made through a codicil (an additional document) or by creating a new Will.
What happens if I die without a Will?
For non-Muslim in West Malaysia, if a person died without a Will (intestate), their estate will be distributed according to the Distribution Act 1958.
Who can be the Witness to my Will?
The witness of your Will must fulfill the following requirements:
- He/she is not the beneficiary
- He/she is not the immediate family of the beneficiary
- He/she must be aged 18 years old or above
- He/she must be sound minded
- He/she is a third party to the testator (for example: friends, estate planners, extended families etc)
Do I need to include any oversea assets that I own in my Will?
However, if you have any overseas assets, besides including it in the Will you make in Malaysia, it is highly recommended that you also write another Will in that particular country. This is because every country has different laws on Will, inheritance and distribution of estates to the beneficiaries of a deceased person.
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