You are currently viewing Understanding the role of the Malaysian government in probate proceedings

The Malaysian government does play a very important role in probate proceedings in our country. The government has written laws for probate proceedings in the country and its citizens and residents. Those laws are to guide and assist its people in the event they need to get a probate. 

Malaysians may not be aware but here’s how it is done. 

What is a Grant of Probate? 

Before we go further, allow us to explain what a Grant of Probate (GOP) is. A GOP is a legal document you need in order to have the power and authority to administer the dead person’s estate. Estate is a loose term to refer to all the assets and properties under the deceased’s name. 

If the deceased has a valid will, then you will next need to apply for a GOP. The timeframe to apply for a GOP document takes around 4 to 6 weeks. However, that timeframe may take longer depending on how complex the matter is. It is possible for individuals to apply on their own, there will be quite a number of paperwork needed. You may hire an experienced law firm to help reduce the stress for yourself and make the process smoother. 

What if there is no Grant of Probate? 

If there is no Grant of Probate, then you will need a Letters of Administration (LOA). A LOA is issued when the deceased has no will, valid or not, in their name. Their next-of-kin will need to obtain such documents where they can apply for one from the High Court of Malaysia. 

Again, like applying and obtaining a GOP document, the process may take several weeks. Depending on how complex the situation is, the application timeframe may take longer than usual. 

Where does the Malaysian Government come in then? 

This is what the Malaysian government will do for you in such situations. They have implemented laws to ensure the next-of-kin are able to obtain their portion of the assets and properties in fairness and in the smoothest ways possible. 

a.      Distribution Act  (1953) 

In the event that your deceased family member did not leave behind a will, valid one or not, then there is the Distribution Act (1953) for you. The Malaysian government has implemented such law so that just in case you cannot obtain the assets and properties smoothly, you may go to them for help. 

You may refer to the below table for the distribution of the available assets once held by the deceased. 

Distribution Act 1958 - Conventional for non-Muslims - Image via Loanstreet
Image via Loanstreet


Please be reminded that the abovementioned table is the distribution detail for West Malaysia and Sarawak. However, if you are from Sabah, you may be subjected to a different set of rules

The Distribution Act is not applicable to Muslims. It is only applicable for non-Muslim citizens and residents of Malaysia. Under Islamic Law, the deceased person’s estate will be distributed in accordance with the Holy Al-Quran and hadith. 

b.  Public Trust Corporation Act (1995) and Probate and Administration Act (1959) 

No trustee to help you distribute your assets? That’s not going to be a problem for you. Not every appoints a trustee for their own assets for various reasons. And that is perfectly all right. If you cannot appoint a trustee for reasons that are their own, the Malaysian government has their own trustee and probate divisions. No sweat there! 

A trustee will be appointed for you and your case and they will see through the case for you for the length of the case. If the deceased has left behind a sizeable estate, you may or may not have to pay a processing fee. Refer to the table below to expect roughly how much you will need to pay.

Estate Value Charges - Table Screenshot via PROPERTY GURU Table Screenshot via PROPERTY GURU


Bottom Line 

People always thought the government does nothing or little for such matters for their citizens. In all honesty, they do help – just that most people are not aware of it. Just in case your family member passed away and left behind no will, you can always turn to the government for help. If you need further assistance or have any enquiries, feel free to reach out to us for help. We are more than happy to help you in this matter.