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If you own multiple properties in Malaysia, then you will have a lot of things to settle within your estate planning. We are not talking about having one or two properties under your name. We are talking about multiple properties, assets, financial accounts, and other profitable assets that you own. It could be an asset that has been under your name for a year or less, or it can be an asset that you have had for many years. 

Nonetheless, it does not matter how many years you have those properties. As long as you own multiple assets regardless off the length of time, they are all yours nonetheless. If you own multiple properties and have no idea how to include them in your wills and trusts, then you have come to the right place. 

In this article, we will highlight key points in how to include them in your wills and trusts. Estate planning for people and families with multiple properties are not necessarily the most difficult thing in Malaysia. We will summarize everything into bite size information to make things easier to digest. 

List down all the assets you have first 

This is the easiest thing to start things off with. When you have a lot of assets and properties, you are bound to miss out one or two of your assets. Don’t just list out the assets you have in Malaysia. If you have assets outside of Malaysia, it’s best to list them down as well. 

It does not matter if you only have one asset outside of Malaysia. Just list it down nonetheless. It’s just as important as any other assets that you have within Malaysia as well. 

Assets do not just limit to properties and financial accounts. It can also include cryptocurrencies as well. As cryptocurrencies are everywhere, there are bound to be people who have a piece of it. You may have some so it’s worth including it in this list. 

Talk to a lawyer 

After listing down all the assets that you have within Malaysia and beyond the country, your next step is to reach out to an experienced lawyer. An experienced lawyer will walk you through what else is needed besides the list of properties you have just come up with. 

Usually, you will be asked to produce a legal document stating that the asset is owned by you. This is all for legal purposes and the future of those assets. Those documents can include title deeds, legal letters, etc. 

Creating a will 

The next step will be creating a will. Creating a will is not exactly the most complicated thing in the world. In the will, you can include all the assets you have previously listed out. Don’t forget to have the legal documents stating your ownership included as well. 

In the will, you will list out all the beneficiaries you wish to include. Usually, people will include their family members. Sometimes, some people may include their friends, girlfriends and/or concubines. For some people, they may even include their pets (it’s possible). 

At the same time, you will also state how much each beneficiary will get from your assets. If you only have 3 people named in your will, most people often will go 33.3% for each named beneficiary. 

If there are no beneficiaries named in the will, and you do not have a will, then things will work out differently. If you find yourself in such a situation (usually it’s your family members), then your assets will be distributed as per Distribution Act Malaysia

Appoint a Trustee 

Assuming that you do have a will in place and everything listed in it, then you will next appoint a trustee. A trustee is someone who helps distribute the assets listed in your wills to the named beneficiaries. They ensure that everyone gets their fair share of your assets as per listed in your updated will. 

A trustee is not an executor, who is a different person who handles different aspects of your will. However, a trustee will continue to oversee the distribution of your assets for as long as they are around. If there are any conservatorship or guardianship appointed, the trustee will see to it that they carry out their duties. 

An executor may be appointed 

Sometimes, even though you have a trustee appointed, it does not mean that it will end just there. In certain situations, an executor may be appointed to work alongside a trustee. An executor is someone who is appointed to locate more assets under your name – inside and outside of Malaysia. The executor will also ensure that all debts are paid off before the assets are being distributed to the named beneficiaries or next-of-kin. Note that this may take a long time depending on how complex the matter is. 

However, an executor is not like a trustee. An executor is only temporary whereas a trustee is permanent. Once the debt has been paid and all the assets located, everything else will be handed over to the trustee and the beneficiaries. The executor will exit itself thereafter. 

The trustee, on the other hand, will take over the newly found assets (or the remainder, depending on the situation). S/He will then ensure that the remaining assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries in the fairest possible way. 

Consider having a living trust 

We know this sounds like it’s a lot of things to consider for your future – but anything to fortify your future for yourself and the people around you. If in any situation, you find yourself in an accident or illness. You may find yourself incapacitated, which is not the best state to be in for anyone. That means you can no longer carry out your day-to-day tasks and work like usual. You may be bedridden or wheelchair-ridden for the rest of your time. 

If you’ve found yourself in such a situation, fret not. You may consider having a living trust for yourself. A living trust is a legal document stating what will happen to you and your assets when you become incapacitated. In the very same document, you may say who will take care of you, what’s going to happen to you, etc. 

You can have a living trust besides a will. It works and both can run alongside each other and still be valid. You don’t have to worry about whether if you should retract one to let the other one run on its own. 

Bottom Line 

Estate planning for people who have multiple assets and properties in Malaysia (and outside of the country) is not necessarily a complicated thing. Should you need any help with estate planning and will writing, feel free to reach out to us today. We will be more than happy to help you with your wills and trusts