Writing a Will in Malaysia

Melissa Lim & Associates offer will writing services. Here are some FAQ to get you started:

Why should I have a Will?

Having a will allows you to have control over the distribution of your assets and choose who to do so. You will be able to do as follows:

  • Choose your executor / executrix and your trustee to administer your estate;
  • Choose your beneficiaries;
  • Set up trusts for your minor beneficiaries and / or charities;
  • Choose the guardian for your minor children;
  • Choose the manner of which your assets shall be distributed;
  • Minimise family disputes over the distribution of properties; and
  • Reduce the time and cost spent to administer your estate

What makes a will valid?

 You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be of sound mind i.e. conscious and clear headed;
  • Have the will in writing – it can be hand written or printed (recommended);
  • Have signed your will or used thumb print; and
  • Have 2 witnesses to witness you signing the will and the 2 witnesses then sign the will in front of you and each other.

Who can be my witnesses?

Anyone can be your witnesses except for a beneficiary. If you intend to leave an asset to a person, that person cannot be a witness to your will. However, executors can be your witness. It is recommended for the witnesses to write their address and NRIC number to ease the process later.

Who can be my executor or trustee?

  • An executor can act as a trustee as well;
  • An executor / trustee have to be at least 18 years old;
  • You can appoint up to 4 executors;
  • A beneficiary can be your executor;
  • You can also appoint a trust company to act as your executor and trustee;
  • It is recommended to name another person to replace your named executor in the event that your executor predeceases you or does not want to be your executor.

What if I die without a will?

If you die without a will:

  • Your asset will be distributed according to the Distribution Act 1958 which provides formulas for distribution;
  • The Court will appoint an administrator to administer your estate and this may cause family disputes on who shall administer your estate;
  • The distribution process will take longer and cost more; and
  • The Court will appoint a guardian for your minor children whom you may not want

How long will my will be valid for?

Your will is valid until it is replaced by a new will, destroyed intentionally, convert to Islam or when you marry (unless your will expressly provides for a ‘contemplation of marriage’ clause)

Although a divorce will not affect the validity of your will, it is recommended to write a new will after the divorce.

Does my executor and / or trustee get paid from my estate?

Your executor and trustee can claim for legal fees and expenses incurred for administering your estate.

What assets should I have in my Will?

You should have the following types of assets in your Will:

  • Immovable property (land, resident building, commercial building)
  • Movable property (cash, bank balances, shares);
  • Intellectual property (copyrights, patents)

What happens if my beneficiary is a minor?

If your beneficiary is a minor, you may appoint someone to hold the assets on trust for the beneficiary until majority age (18 years old)

Does my Will need to be stamped?


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