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How to prepare a Will

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Due to the pandemic, the inquiries relating to will preparation have also increased.

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Therefore, in this article, we have prepared 10 frequently asked questions relating to will preparation which we shall answer in a short and understandable way:

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1) What are the documents needed for making a will

2) The validity period of a will

3) Whether it is necessary to engage a lawyer to prepare a will? Can it be done online

4) What kind of properties can be disposed of through a will?

5) What are the roles of an executor?

6) How many witnesses are needed?

7) Do the witnesses need to know the contents of my will?

8) Do I need to make a new will after acquiring a new property?

9) Do I need to pay taxes when making a will?

10) How would my properties be distributed if I died without a will?
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1)     What are the documents needed for making a will?

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A will is a legal document that set forth how a person desires his estate to be distributed after his death. A valid will requires at least one executor and two witnesses.

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Therefore, before making a will, the following documents must be provided to the lawyer so to ensure that the contents of the will are correct and accurate:-

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  • A copy of the identity card of the testator
  • A copy of the identity card of the executor
  • Copies of the identity cards of the witnesses
  • The documents that can prove the ownership of the testator’s estate

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2)     The validity period of a will

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Generally after a will is validly made, it will continue to be valid until the testator’s demise or makes a new will.

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It should be noted that if the testator who made the will subsequent gets married or remarries, his will would automatically revoke by operation of law and becomes invalid.

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3)      Whether it is necessary to engage a lawyer to prepare a will? Can it be done online?

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Although according to the law, it is not necessary to engage a lawyer to prepare a will. However, in order to ensure the legality of the will and that the contents of the will can clearly express the wishes of the testator, it is more recommendable to engage a lawyer to prepare the legal document.

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Due to the pandemic, it has become difficult for the testator to physically come to the law firm to execute a will. In relation to the enquiry as to whether it can be done online, in order to ensure the legality of the will, we are of the view that there are 3 conditions must be met:

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First, the testator must find a photocopier so that he can print out his will for execution.

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Second, the testator’s premises need to have a stable network so that his lawyer can explain the contents of the will to him through video conference.

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Third, when signing the will, the testator must be with his witnesses so that his witnesses can physically witness the execution.

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4)            What kind of properties can be disposed of through by a will?
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Basically any property can be disposed of through a will:

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a) Movable properties such as cars, cash, stocks, deposits, jewelry and other personal belongings, etc.

b) Immovable properties such as houses, shop lots, agricultural lands, etc.

c) Intellectual property rights such as trademarks, copyrights, patents

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When necessary, the testator can also set up a trust to guarantee the interests of his child or even pet.

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*Regarding whether the retired fund and insurance needs to be written in the will, this depends on the circumstances of each individual cases. You can read our article if you want to know the relevant laws.

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5)         What are the roles of an executor?

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An executor is a person who executes the wishes of a deceased in a will his demise. According to the law, a testator can appoint up to a maximum 4 executors.

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You can read our article if you want to know more about the duties of an executor.

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6)            How many witnesses are needed?

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A will must be signed by 2 witnesses. Legally, the witnesses must not have any inheritance rights and interests in the testator’s estate.

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7)            Do the witnesses need to know the contents of my will?

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The witnesses do not need to know the contents of the will. Each of them only needs to witness the testator’s signature, and then sign as a witness.

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8)            Do I need to make a new will after acquiring a new property?

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Legally, it is not necessary to make a new will after acquiring a new property as professional lawyers usually would advise their clients to put down a residual clause in the wills so to dispose the properties that acquired in the future to the designated beneficiaries.

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If there is no residue clause or the testator has special arrangement for the new property, then it is more recommendable to make a new will.

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9)            Do I need to pay taxes when making a will?

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The answer is negative, and there is also no inheritance tax in Malaysia.

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10)          How would my properties be distributed if I died without a will?

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In the absence of a will, the deceased’s estate will be distributed in accordance with Section 6 of the Distribution Act 1958 in Malaysia.

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If you want to know how the properties be distributed under the Malaysian laws, you can read our article.

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These are some information regarding will preparation that we would want to share with you today. If you have any inquiries about it, please do contact us: https://wa.link/q3kmv5

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If you want to know the procedures involved for applying Grant of Probate, you can read our article

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If you want to know the procedures involved for applying Letters of Administration, you can read our article

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If you want to know what kind of circumstance, you can apply make application to the land office for the distribution of estate, you can read our article

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