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International & Sharia Compliant Wills

Last will and testament

From Farringdon Group’s experience, it is common to hear people asking what the most suitable age to write a Will is. Our answer is “NOW”.

We have clients all over the world with assets around the globe, whether it be property, companies, bank accounts, investments or businesses, each of these locations/countries or jurisdictions has different laws.

We want YOU to be fully aware of ALL this so we have teamed up with a number of experts whom are able to help with International Wills and Sharia Wills for Muslim or converted Muslims living in Malaysia and a number of other partners worldwide.

Call my Business Development Manager direct on +603 2026 0286 or email on dcameron@farringdongroup.com

What is a will?

A will is a legal document which outlines how a person intends to have his/her estate distributed and/or other matters to take effect after his/her death.

Why a will is needed?

  • If you wish for a quick transfer of assets to your loved ones
  • Avoid the need of 2 sureties (guarantor)
  • You can set up Testamentary Trust Fund or Trust Property for your minor children, aged parents or special child
  • Have your own choice of executor(s), trustee(s), guardian(s) & beneficiary(ies)
  • Avoid dispute & complication over your assets & much more….

What makes a will valid?

To make a valid will, the testator (will maker) should;

  • Be minimum 18 years old (for west Malaysia and Sarawak)
  • Be of sound mind
  • Comply with the formal requirement in Section 5, Wills Act 1959.

What are the formal requirements in Section 5, Wills Act 1959?

  • A will can be handwritten or typewritten in any language except Privileged Will.
  • A will must be signed or thumbprint by the testator (Will Maker).
  • Witnessed by at least two witnesses, who witness the testator’s signature. The witnesses will then sign in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.

Can I will all my movable (e.g. cash) or immovable (e.g. house) assets in Malaysia as well as outside Malaysia?

The movable assets within Malaysia and outside Malaysia can be willed away. So can the immovable assets within the country.

However, for the immovable assets outside Malaysia, it is advisable to write another will for that particular property because the law governing immovable properties can vary from country to country.

Property that may not be dealt with in a Will

  • Insurance Policies under Section 23 Civil Law Act 1956/Section 166 Insurance Acts 1996.
  • Employees Provident Fund (EPF) where nominees have been named.

Can my will be revoked by a divorce?

A will cannot be revoked by a divorce and it is therefore advisable to rewrite the will when one is divorced from his/her spouse.

Is my will revoked upon marriage?

Yes, a will is revoked upon marriage unless there is an ‘Expectation of marriage’ clause in the will.

What do you mean by ‘Expectation of marriage’?

When a person gets married, his/her will is automatically revoked unless he/she intends to marry a particular person mentioned in the will. In this case, the Will will not be revoked even after marriage to this particular person.

Duties of an Executor

  • Locate the Will
  • Make funeral arrangement if necessary
  • Apply for Grant of Probate (GP)
  • Call in the Assets
  • Clear the Debts and Liabilities
  • Prepare a statement of account
  • Distribute assets according to the Will

How many executors can I appoint?

Minimum 1 to maximum 4.

Can my executor or trustee abscond with my money?

Of course he can. It is therefore important to select your executor or trustee carefully. Alternatively, you can use a trust company.

Can a foreigner be appointed an executor or trustee?

Yes, but you should consider whether it is practical to do so (for example how long will he stay in this country?) A levy may also be imposed on a foreigner.

What is the age for a minor requiring a trustee?

A trustee is required as long as the minor is below 18 years of age.

Duties of a Trustee

  • Normally, the duties of a trustee begin when the duties of an Executor end.
  • The duty of a Trustee is to continue administering the estate which cannot be distributed, eg. When minor beneficiaries are involved.
  • The Trustees has to follow the instructions and powers given to him/her by the testator and any income generated from the estate must be accounted for.

What is the age for a minor requiring a guardian?

A guardian is required as long as the minor is below 21 years of age.

Duties or responsibilities of a Guardian

  • Maintenance
  • Education
  • Health

What is the minimum age to be executor, trustee or guardian?

21 years old

Can a beneficiary be an executor, trustee as well as guardian?

Yes, he can.

Can an executor, trustee and guardian be the same person?

Yes, certainly.

Does a person need to pay estate duty in Malaysia after his death?

No. Anyone who dies on or after 1st November 1991 is not subject to any estate duty in Malaysia.

Witnessing Your Will

When you sign your will, the Law requires that you get 2 witnesses to witness your act of signing the will together at the same time. However, your witnesses must not be:

  • Your beneficiary
  • Spouse of your beneficiary

It is advisable to get someone who is:

  • A family friend or relative;
  • Easy to locate;
  • Above 18 years old.

However, it is not required by Law for the witness to know the content of the will or your wealth distribution details. You may however let them know that you are preparing this important document to protect your loved ones.

When do I need to rewrite my will?

If any of the following happen to you….

  • Change of marital status (married, divorced)
  • Change of your executor status (migrate, death, relationship breakdown, incapacity, bankrupt)
  • Change of your guardian status (migrate, death, relationship breakdown, incapacity, bankrupt)
  • Change of mind with regards to your beneficiaries (children reach the age 21, different beneficiaries)
  • Change of your witnesses status (migrate, death relationship breakdown, incapacity)
  • New family member (new born child)
  • Substantial increase of wealth (started a business, purchased properties)

However, in accordance to our statistics it is advisable to review your will every 2 to 3 years.

Does my will need to be stamped or sealed?

A will does not need to be stamped to be valid while sealing is just for confidentiality.

Can I write my own will?

Yes, the law allows every ones to write his/her own will provided he/she comply with the Wills Act requirement. However, it is advisable to seek some professional advices so that the drafted will is valid and good enough to ensure it stand up to any court dispute

Who can keep the wills safe?

We believe that writing a will is only one side of the coin which is equally important is the safe keeping of the will.

Hence, a custody package that includes safe keeping, annual updating assets and liabilities, annual reminder and discount on rewriting.

How long does it take to draft a will?

If all the information are given, your will should be ready within 5 working days

I hope you have enjoyed this post.

Stuart Yeomans 

CEO

Farringdon Group

Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia

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