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Avoid these mistakes when writing a will in Malaysia 

Making mistakes when writing a will in Malaysia can be costly. You and your next-of-kin will suffer a lot when it comes to inheritance. Although you may not be around anymore, it will mean that your next-of-kin will suffer more from the mistakes made in your will. 

There are several things for you to consider when writing a will. Have a look into the following points to avoid when you are preparing one. 

1. The percentage % of asset distribution 

Here’s the thing when it comes to the distribution of the assets between your next-of-kin. If you do not leave behind a will, the Malaysian government will “decide” for your beneficiaries – who are often your immediate family members. 

Most times, people will just go for 50:50 if they have a spouse and a child. Meaning to say the spouse will receive 50% of the share and the child will receive the other 50%. However, if you have 2 kids, people tend to give 1/3 to each of the children and the spouse. The equal division of assets seem fair, right? On the surface, yes it seems very fair and logical. 

However, in the long run, it isn’t exactly the best decision to make. As you distribute the assets evenly between your spouse and children, it will be hard for them to make a final decision on what to do with them. They will go into a deadlock as they all have equal shares. In this case, have one person with the most shares, that way it’s easier for them to make a final decision on what to do with the assets. 

2. Naming the right person as your trustee and executor 

Most people in Malaysia will name just one trustee and executor and never really thought much about it. Though it is not wrong, have you ever thought about scenarios where the trustee and/or executor may pass away before their time? 

People can say they will just name another alternative after that, which isn’t wrong either. However, to be safe, you can name several trustees and executors at the same time. There is nothing wrong with that. Just in case one trustee or executor passed away, you will still have a backup – if you get what it means here. It can help save you a lot of time looking for new trustees and executors later on. 

3. Statements and letters aren’t enough 

Here’s the thing when it comes to giving away your money and other assets to your beneficiaries. It is understandable that some people may give their assets and properties to charities and other organizations. Some people may even give their assets to friends. In such scenarios, people often send letters or statements saying they will give that much of their money or assets to these people or organizations

A letter and a statement is just that – a letter or a statement. It does not have any legal bindings. If you think this is a will and that the named “beneficiary” will get anything from you when you’re gone, you’re mistaken

The Malaysian government will still give your assets to your immediate family member. They will not give the portion you’ve planned to give in the statement or letter. Rather, the Malaysian government will distribute according to the Distribution Act (1957)

4. Legalize your wills 

4. Legalize your wills
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Coming from the last point, it is gravely important to have your wills legalized. Hire a lawyer to help you legalize it. Before legalizing your will, get the lawyer to advise you on what to include in your will, how you should go about it, and every fine detail you should look into for your will. 

The process may be long and tedious but it’s definitely worth it. The end result will be rewarding as your next-of-kin will not need to suffer any confusion from any of your mistakes. 

Some wills are not legalized by lawyers, hence making them invalid. When the will is invalid, a lot of confusion will be caused to your beneficiaries. You don’t want that to happen, do you? 

5. Name a backup beneficiary 

This is something that does not really come across many people’s minds when naming beneficiaries in their wills. This works similar to naming backup trustees and beneficiaries. Sometimes, unfortunate things may happen to beneficiaries. They may die young or die before their time. 

When this happens, have a clause in your will saying you have a backup beneficiary to replace the deceased beneficiary. Or if you do not wish to name a new beneficiary, you may also put in a clause stating what will happen to the deceased beneficiary’s portion. Will it be passed on to the other beneficiary? Or will it go to someone else instead? The possibilities are many. 

Bottom Line 

Making a mistake when preparing wills in Malaysia is a common thing. However, there is nothing you need to worry about. You just need to be extra careful and vigilant of what you put in your will, that’s all.