How will your Malaysian probate be handled?
Malaysian probate is typically for deceased Malaysians who have assets and bank accounts in Malaysia. However, what happens to that Malaysian probate when you, as a Malaysian, have foreign assets?
The average Malaysian’s understanding of probate is that you have a will where you list all your money and assets. In your will, you’ll also list beneficiaries and trustees. When you have passed away, whatever listed assets and monies will be distributed according to what your will indicates.
However, what if you have assets and money abroad? You may have invested in or bought properties abroad. Or you may have worked abroad before, hence you may have left behind money in that country. There could be few good scenarios as to how you have foreign assets.
Can You Include Foreign Assets In Your Malaysian Will?
Yes, you can include foreign assets in your will alongside your Malaysian assets, no problem at all. In order to validate your will overseas, your executor will need to re-seal the grant of probate in a court of the foreign jurisdiction.
We will advise that you don’t have it re-sealed just yet. It’s better to obtain specific legal advice for foreign real property. This is because the law governing the will of real property is different between each country. Some lawyers may even advise you to write another separate will just for these foreign properties and assets.
If you do have foreign assets, you should let your lawyers know. That way they can see what’s the best way to incorporate them into your existing will.
Making a Foreign Will
Making a new will in that specific country where your assets are works almost similar to how you do your will in Malaysia. It depends on where your foreign assets are, to be honest. For example, if you have assets in the UK, then you should have a will done in the UK for your UK properties and assets.
Writing a will and its process in the UK is a lot similar to how it’s done in Malaysia (which is great), as Malaysia has largely gotten its influence from the UK. So if you do have the valid UK will with all your UK assets listed, it’s pretty much valid in Malaysia too. UK wills are pretty universal and are recognized by most other countries anyway. Just remember to have your Malaysian lawyers validate and re-seal it under Malaysia probate.
If you have assets in any other countries, like the USA, Europe, or elsewhere, check with your lawyers regarding the specifics. Not all countries’ wills are universally recognized. Sometimes you may have to have those assets listed under Malaysian will and probate. If it is not enforced then your next-of-kin will have a lot of problems with handling your overseas assets when you are gone.
How Long Will It Take For A Probate If There Are Foreign Probates?
Safe to say it’s definitely longer than your average probate if you only have Malaysian assets. Take into consideration how you are dealing with assets in a foreign country. You will need to deal with the foreign country’s laws for obvious reasons.
If it’s a country where they don’t speak English (or a language you know or understand), it will add even more waiting time. Consider how translation work for the legal documents may take a longer time to process.
There is also the fact that the will may not have complete assets. The executors in those countries will need to take time and find out and justify the deceased’s assets and properties. That will add more waiting time to your Malaysian probate.
Are there any outstanding taxes and debts in the foreign countries that the deceased have not paid yet? The foreign countries and their executors will need to find out and justify those matters as well.
There are many facets and factors that may contribute to the Malaysian probate taking longer than usual. Having properties in a foreign country may sound novel. However, there are some issues surrounding it that are largely time-consuming.
Having foreign assets will definitely extend your average Malaysian probate period as there are many contributing factors to consider. However, it is not entirely impossible probate to handle. It just takes a bit more time to tackle.