Why Are People Eager To Make Will Now?

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Malaysia Will Writing Laws, Why You Should Start Worrying Now

40% of Americans rushed to do their Wills. why are people eager to make Will now? And the trend of malaysia Will writing?

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, is unprecedented. It has, within a short stint of time, spread around the world. At present, global coronavirus death toll passes 40,000.

In the past few weeks, there has been a surge in estate planning as well as in the writing of new Wills and the re-writing of old Wills. According to the British “Daily Mail” website, many Americans are eager to make wills because of the rising death toll due to coronavirus. According to statistics, about 40% of Americans have recently made wills.

Why is this Malaysia Will writing law significant and what has changed?

  1. Why is it recommended to draw up a will?

    The benefits of making a will are as follows:

    • You are free to choose your beneficiaries and how to distribute your estate
      Without a will, the estate can only be distributed to your parents, spouses, and children in accordance with the law. If all the former are not available, your estate will, in the following order, go to your brothers and sisters, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-grandparents’ brothers, or the government.
    • You are free to choose your executor to execute the estate including transfer of the estate’s assets
    • If you plan to bequeath your estate to your child who is still a minor, you can appoint a testamentary guardian to hold the assets on trust for your child.
    • Avoid unnecessary family disputes
      Without a will, the legal beneficiaries must first choose an estate administrator among themselves – there must be minimum one administrator and maximum four. Many families would have already encountered disputes at this stage. Thereafter, the estate administrator(s) must administer and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the law. Again, there is a likelihood that there would be disputes over the distribution.
    • Simplify the legal procedures including assets transfer procedures and costs
      Without a will, unless the court dispenses with it, the estate administrator must provide two guarantors when he/she applies for the letter of administration.
      Further, any disposal of the assets of the estate must first be agreed by all legal beneficiaries. Thereafter, the estate administrator must submit such application for court’s approval.
  2. Any new rules or laws on Malaysia Will writing during COVID-19?

    As at the time of writing, the Malaysian Government has not made any new rules or law, nor has it issued any directives in regards to Will-writing in Malaysia during COVID-19. The usual requirements under Wills Act 1959 still apply during this period of time.

    Which means unless you are under military duty where you are allowed to do up a will orally, all will must be in writing and must be witnessed by two persons. The witnesses cannot be the beneficiaries or husbands or wives of the beneficiaries.

  3. During the quarantine period can a Will be remotely witnessed for instance through a video call?

    No. If you were to do so, your Will would most likely be declared as invalid, if challenged.

    A will must be signed by the testator in the presence of 2 or more witnesses at the same time AND the testator must also be physically present then the witnesses sign on the Will. Despite of the MCO such legal requirements have not been relaxed.

  4. If I’m diagnosed with COVID-19, will my Will made after I’ve been diagnosed be invalid?

    While a COVID-19 infection will not by itself render a person to be of ‘unsound mind’, it really depends on your health as well as mental condition when such Will is made.
    If the Will is made when the patient is critically ill, jeopardising his/her ability to express or comprehend the content of the Will, there is a high chance where such Will might be declared as invalid, if challenged. However, if your symptoms are rather mild, the fact that your Will is made after you were diagnosed with Covid-19 would not invalidate your Will.

  5. I have done my Will earlier. How do I know if I should revise it?

    Generally, a will shall be revised if the following occurs:

    • If you are married or remarried;
    • If you or a beneficiary changes name;
    • If your beneficiary(ies) passes away before you;
    • If the executor appointed is dead or unable to execute the will;
  6. I wish to make a Will but in view of the extension of the MCO how could I do it?

    Although signing of a Will has to be done before two attesting witnesses, we could still take your instruction to draft a Will according to your wishes and advise you accordingly vide email or phone/video calls.

    Once a Will is drafted, we will then guide you on how to sign and witness your Will properly and safely during the MCO and in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

  7. Do I have to keep my will confidential?

    Although estate planning can be a sensitive issue in some families, you must however at least let the estate executor know where he/she can find your will after you pass away. This is because if a will cannot be found, it is as good as no will.

If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact our lawyer that you usually deal with.

This article is written by 
Toh Lee Khim
Partners, Low & Partners
Chin Chyu Ern
Associate, Low & Partners
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