What to know and How to write a Will in Malaysia?
When it comes to estate planning, one of the most important things you can do is write a will. A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your property and possessions will be distributed after your death.
While it may seem daunting, writing a will is not that difficult. You can easily create a Will that will protect your loved ones and ensure that your final wishes are fulfilled.
Making a Will could be done with planning and advice from will-writing service professionals.
Who can write a Will or Wasiat in Malaysia?
A testator is a person who has made a will. There are two types of Wills in Malaysia: Will for non-Muslims and Wasiat for Muslims. If the Testator (the person writing the Will) is a non-Muslim, they use a Will.
A Wasiat is for Muslims in the respective States of Malaysia and must refer to the relevant Faraid Islamic regulations. As this page focuses more on non-Muslims writing a Will, we shall cover Wasiat in a separate post.
The Malaysian Wills Act 1959 defines a will as a declaration intended to have the legal effect of the Testator’s intentions concerning their property or other matters, which they desire to carry into effect after their death.
The Malaysian Wills Act 1959 Act only applies to the states of Peninsular Malaysia.
Requirements of a Valid Will
The Malaysian Wills Act 1959 has specific requirements for a legally binding will. Any person of sound mind and 18 years or older may write a Will. The Will must be in writing and signed by the Testator in the presence of 2 witnesses, who must also sign the Will.
The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries under the Will. They must be present simultaneously as the Testator when the Will is signed. It is invalid if the Will is not properly witnessed.
It is advisable to appoint an executor in your Will who will be responsible for ensuring that your wishes are carried out after your death. The executor must be 18 years old and above and can be a beneficiary under the Will, but this is not required.
When should you write a will?
It is essential to have a will to protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are carried out after death.
However, many people put off writing a Will because they think it is too complicated, or they are not sure when is the best time to do it. Or they have some misconceptions about writing a will.
The truth is that writing a will is not as difficult as you might think, and there is no perfect time to do it.
As part of estate planning, you should write a will when you start to own assets and want them to be distributed in a certain way after death. These assets could include property, savings in bank accounts, investments, or sentimental items.
Besides assets, it is also recommended to list down liabilities we have also incurred during our lifetime because all liabilities need to be paid off first before we can distribute our assets to our beneficiaries. In other words, the net assets will be distributed to our beneficiaries.
If you have minor children, it is also essential to write a will so that you can appoint a legal guardian for them in the event of your death. Without a will, the court will decide who will care for your children, which may not be your first choice.
What happens if I die without a will?
Choose an Administrator
In Malaysia, if a person dies without having made a will, the person dies intestate. If you die intestate, any person with interest in your estate may apply to become the administrator. The Probate and Administration Act 1959 grants the court the discretion to appoint an administrator.
After establishing an administrator, the process of administering an intestate estate can be a complicated legal process. It may take up to two to five years.
Follow Distribution Act 1958
The Distribution Act 1958 will then determine how the assets will be distributed. The first step is to determine if the deceased person has any surviving family members. If they do, their assets will be divided amongst them per the Distribution Act 1958.
Suppose the deceased person does not have any surviving family members. In that case, their assets will be divided amongst their next of kin per the order of precedence set out in the Act.
In general, if the deceased person does not have any family members and does not have a will, their assets will go to the following persons in order of priority: brothers and sisters, grandparents, uncles and aunts, great-grandparents, great-granduncle and grandaunts and lastly, our Malaysian Government.
Where to get Will Writing service in Malaysia?
There are various ways to write a will in Malaysia. These include getting the Will comprehensively done by estate planning companies or estate planning lawyers.
There are even online Will Writing services and DIY Will Writing. While these could be slightly cost-effective, there may be some drawbacks.
Method #1 – With an Estate Planning Company
There are many benefits to using an estate planning company to help you write your Will. First, they can ensure that your Will is legally binding and meets all the requirements of Malaysian law.
They can also help you plan for potential contingencies, such as if you have young children or own property in multiple countries.
Estate planning companies can also provide peace of mind by handling all the paperwork, logistics and process involved in implementing your estate distribution plan. By engaging an estate planning company, they can significantly relieve your loved ones during an already difficult time.
One of the famous estate planning companies in Malaysia is Rockwills Corporation. Rockwills is the first company to provide professional Will-writing and Will Custody Services in Malaysia since 1995. They are known to offer comprehensive one-stop estate planning services to the public.
Method #2 – With an Estate Lawyer
Besides from an estate planning company, you can get your Will done by getting advice from an estate lawyer. While it depends on the number of clauses within the Will, generally, the fees for such services may be higher compared to estate planning companies that are focused on providing them.
Method #3 – Online Will Writing Services or DIY your own Will
Many people might want to do it themselves or DIY Will Writing when it comes to writing a will. It seems it can be a simple process, and there might be plenty of resources available to help you do it. But could you ensure that all aspects of a Will are well-thought of?
There are some pros and cons to consider before you make your decision. On the plus side, doing it yourself can save you money. You won’t have to pay a lawyer or an estate planner to draft your Will. And if you have a simple estate, a DIY will may be all you need.
But there are some potential downsides as well. If your estate is complex, DIY wills may be unable to cover everything. And if something goes wrong with your Will, it could be expensive and cause significant problems for your loved ones after you’re gone. However, a better recommendation is to have a guided online will writing service.
How much does it cost to write a will in Malaysia?
In Malaysia, the cost of writing a will would generally comprise the following components. There is a cost of 1) creating a will based on the number of clauses and optional costs such as 2) custody service to store a will and 3) appointment for an executor. The exact costs are detailed here on this page, Rockwills Will Writing Fees.
Cost #1: Creating the Will and the Number of Clauses
Generally, from an estate planning company, the cost of creating a will depends on the number of clauses within a Will. The clauses would detail how to distribute your assets according to your wishes.
The more assets you have and/or beneficiaries you have, and/or the more requirements or wishes you have, the number of clauses in the Will would generally need to be increased.
Cost #2: Custody Service to store a Will
When it comes to writing a will in Malaysia, one of the critical things to consider is how to ensure that your Will is kept safe and secure throughout a person’s lifetime.
One option is to use a Custody Service to store your Will. This can provide peace of mind knowing that your Will is in a safe and secure location. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a custody service, such as:
- Make sure the service is reputable and has a good track record.
- A service that offers multiple levels of security, such as physical security, fire protection, waterproof etc.
- A security mark to ensure the authenticity of the Will and a digital code to ensure the accurate identification of your Will
Cost #3: Appointment of a Will Executor
When you have decided who you would like to appoint as your professional will executor, the next step is to write it into your Will. You should name them specifically and provide their contact information so there can be no confusion about who you have chosen.
While it is not required by law to have a professional will executor, it can be a good idea if you feel that your family or friends would not be able to handle the task or if you have a large estate. Executors are responsible for ensuring that your wishes are carried out, debts are paid off, and your beneficiaries receive their inheritance.
The best recommendation is to have an executor from a reputable estate planning company such as Rockwills, which will exist in perpetuity. Unlike a named individual Executor, there might be a situation where they might pass away before or while carrying out their execution duties.
Furthermore, a reputable estate planning company would have experienced and skilled staff with the time and resources on hand to administer your estate and Trust.
The Will Writing Process
Step 1: Identify assets to be distributed and your Beneficiaries
You are advised to write down the list of assets you currently own.
This list of assets may include properties and other assets such as investments, cash in the bank, e-wallets and even cryptocurrencies, if applicable. You can cross-check with our provided list here.
You then list your beneficiaries who would inherit your assets upon your demise.
Step 2: Appoint your Executor
Next, you then need to appoint an executor of your Will. An executor’s role is to apply to the high court for a Grant of Probate. Once the Grant of Probate is obtained, the executor can then carry out your Will accordingly, which includes collecting your assets, paying off your liabilities and ensuring your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.
Suppose you are engaging Rockwills to write a will. In that case, you can appoint Rockwills as your executor to ensure that the executor can execute the tasks perpetually.
Step 3: Appointment of Guardian
If you have minor children below the age of 21, it is crucial to appoint a guardian in your Will. A guardian will be responsible for taking care of your children if you and your spouse can no longer do so.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a guardian:
- You should choose someone who is responsible and whom you trust.
- The guardian should be willing and able to take on the responsibility.
- The guardian should live close enough to your children so they can easily see them regularly.
Appointing a guardian in your Will ensures that your children will be taken care of by someone you trust if something happens to you. It is one of the most important things you can do for your family.
Step 4: Create your Will and appoint 2 Witnesses
Now that you know what you want to include in your Will, it’s time to list these and communicate with the Estate Planning Advisor.
With such information, the estate planning advisor from Rockwills would then be able to create the initial draft of your Will. You would then need to review it and discuss with the representative matters you are unclear about.
Once you agree with the Will, you would be required to appoint two witnesses who are not beneficiaries and not spouses of the beneficiaries in the Will.
The witnesses must be present when you, the Testator, sign the Will. Vice versa, the two witnesses, then sign the Will in the presence of the Testator.
Step 5: Keep your Will in a safe place
When it comes to your Will, you want to be sure it is in a safe place. After all, this document contains your final wishes and should be respected. A will that cannot be found is as good as not having written one in the first place.
You want to ensure that your loved ones can easily find your Will after you pass away. If it is kept in a safe place, they will know exactly where to look for it.
Second, keeping your Will in a safe place ensures that it will not get lost or damaged. This safekeeping is essential because if your Will is lost or damaged, it may not be considered valid by the court.
Another recommended option is to have your custody of your Will to be stored at Rockwills. With this service, you can ensure that your Will is easily located and, more importantly, kept confidential. So, no one can easily find and read your Will. As it is stored in a safe place, it would be tamper-proof and minimise risks from any forms of sabotage or natural disasters.
Get Advice for your Will Writing
If you are looking for a comprehensive will writing and advisory service from Rockwills, look no further.
Ms Foo Yoong Chih, a licensed Certified Financial Planner as well as a Franchisee of Rockwills, would be able to offer her advice on your personal estate planning.
With 14 years of experience, we can provide you with everything you need to know about will writing, custody and executor services. So, if you want peace of mind and value for money Will Writing service, do contact us.
Best Value or Money Back Guarantee!
Common Will Writing Questions
There are many things to consider when creating a will, but one of the most important things to think about is what assets you want to include and how to distribute them. You’ll need to decide which items you want to leave to specific people, as well as which items you want to be distributed evenly among your beneficiaries. Additionally, you’ll need to determine whether you want certain assets like your house or car to be sold in order to cover any debts or expenses you may have. Ultimately, the decision of what to include in your will is up to you, but it’s important to be thoughtful and consider all of your options before making any final decisions.
The role of an executor and trustee is to manage your estate and finances after your passing. They will be responsible for distributing your assets according to your wishes, paying your debts and taxes, and managing any property or cash that you own. Your executor and trustee will also be responsible for ensuring that your beneficiaries receive their inheritance in a timely manner.
You can appoint a beneficiary as your executor. The executor must be at least 18 years old and above.
No, your beneficiary and spouse of the beneficiary cannot be the witness of your will.
Guardian is responsible to take care of a child when both father and mother of the child are deceased. If you have minor children who are under 21 years old, you need to appoint a Guardian in your will.You can also appoint a substitute Guardian in case the first Guardian you appoint is unable or unwilling to be the Guardian of your children.
It is recommended that you keep your will in a safe place, such as a fireproof and waterproof safe or a place with minimal risk of sabotage or natural disasters. Alternatively, it is recommended to keep your will using a will custody service from a reputable estate planning company such as Rockwills.
There is no legal requirement that you need to provide a copy of your will to your executors, but it may be a good idea so that they can easily access and follow your wishes or avoid any confusion if your family members are not aware of your wishes. However, nowadays, most people would not want to give copies of their wills to their executors for the reason of confidentiality. Therefore, the best arrangement is always keeping your will using a complete will custody service from a reputable and reliable estate planning company i.e. Rockwills.
If your original will cannot be located, it is deemed as you die intestate, which means die without a will.
If you have an old will that you no longer want to be in effect, you can revoke it by creating a new will that expressly revokes the old one. You can also revoke your old will by burning, tearing, or otherwise destroying it.
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether to engage a lawyer to write your will. The first is the cost – hiring a lawyer may be more expensive than doing it yourself, but it may also give you peace of mind knowing that your will is legally binding. The second is the complexity of your situation – if you have a lot of assets or a complicated family situation, it may be worth the extra expense to have a lawyer help you to ensure that your will is properly set up.
Another recommended and cost-effective method is to engage an estate planner from an estate planning company which is focused on providing such estate planning services in a professional, holistic and experienced manner. Ultimately, the decision of whether to engage a lawyer or an estate planner from an estate planning company to write your will is up to you and should be based on your needs and requirements.
Yes, your executor is entitled a fee from the estate. This payment is called executor administration fee and is typically a percentage of the total value of the estate. This executor administration fee is part of the expenses, debts and taxes that need to be cleared off before the estate is distributed to the beneficiaries.
If the beneficiary dies after the testator’s death but before the will is executed or the inheritance is received, the inheritance will pass to the next named beneficiary in the will. If there is no other named beneficiary, the inheritance will be distributed according to a designated formula in the Distribution Act 1958.
A testamentary trust is created under a will and takes effect only upon the death of the testator. It is usually created to provide for the manner of distribution of all or part of an estate. The settlor (hereinbefore called Testator) may specify the terms and conditions under which the trustee is to manage the property or cash, and may also appoint a successor trustee to take over in the event of the original trustee’s death or incapacity.
For insurance policies or EPF, it shall follow nominations set within your insurance policies and EPF. However, if the nominations are not available, you can specify in your will how you want your insurance policies and EPF money to be distributed after your death.
Yes, your will can include your foreign property. You will need to specify which country the property is located in and include the full address of the property. If you have any specific instructions of how you would like the property to be handled, you will need to include those in your will as well. However, you are always advised to write a separate will in the specific country where your property is located because every country has different laws and regulations. This is to ensure the distribution process of your foreign property is smooth and at the same time, it saves your time and cost.