Wills Act 1959 (Act 346) defined a Will as “a declaration intended to have legal effect of the intentions of a testator with respect to his property or other matters which he desires to be carried into effect after his death and includes a testament, a codicil and an appointment by will or by writing in the nature of a will in exercise of a power and also a disposition by will or testament of the guardianship, custody and tuition of any child.”, it is a valid written document by a non-Muslim who is above 18 years old in Peninsular Malaysia to indicate his or her enforceable intention in distribution of his or her asset(s) after death.
With a valid will, testator is freely to nominate his or her assets to the beneficiary(ies) in a specific manner of distribution. Testator may appoint a trustee and executor to administer the assets. This may minimize the potential disputes that may occurred over his or her property and to expedite the process and reduce the cost in the assets distribution.
However, if a deceased die intestate (without a will) his or her assets will be distributed in accordance with the Distribution Act 1958’sFixed Formula as stipulated in Section 6. Even though the assets will be distributed to group of people named as parents, spouse and/or children but it is unable to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries and in the manner as the deceased’s wishes. The trustee and administrator will be appointed by the court and more likely will occur dispute along the distribution process among the family members of the deceased. The distribution process normally may be more costly and more complicated which sometimes may request to provide the administration bond and appointment of two (2) sureties.
Many people do not have proper estate plans or even reluctant to have a will due to taboo believe. In fact, having a good estate planning may prevent unwanted complexity in distributing of the deceased’s assets. It is more important for the protection of the beneficiaries’ interest from assurance of distribution process according testator’s wish and will.