July's article (Will and executor)
In this article, we will explore the general view of will and the role of an executor.
According to the statistics, only 28% of Malaysian workers have a will. Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM) chief executive officer Linnet Lee stated that most people did not realise the importance of having a will. 
They either wait until a much older age to draft a will or lack awareness of owning a will. In short, most Malaysians knew that will is somewhat significant in their life. It’s the procrastination that holding our people back.
So, when should we make a will?
If you have a certain amount of assets.
The definition of an asset is referring to the things that you own. It could be tangible or intangible, anything that is under your name and has a market value. Such as a car, a house, fixed deposit, an insurance policy (the compensation with it), etc.
Though some banks or insurance companies usually have their nomination section for the public to fill in. For example, when someone passes away, who should be the one who receives the compensation from the insurance company. Compensation is akin to money which has value.
It is eligible to include it in our will. Also, people have a saving account that contains their savings. The money is left unclaimed without a will, and eventually, the government might claim it instead.
In short, if you own two or three assets mentioned earlier, you probably should make a will.
So… what happens next?
After assessing our assets, we can either:
- Make our own will
- Engage a law firm to draft for us
To make a valid will, the person must be over 18 years old or 21 years old (for Sabah). They must have testamentary capacity (sound mind) to write a will. Also, there must be two or more witnesses when writing a will. The witness must be the age of 21 or over.
The witness must not be the beneficiary (the person who will receive our asset) and our spouse (husband/ wife).
It’s easier to draft a will ourselves if we have fewer assets. There is no legal requirement for stamping or sealing a will. But, if you have many assets and are uncertain about writing or planning your will. A lawyer can draft for us as well.
Muslim people’s will is known as a ‘wasiat’ which is governed under Syariah Law. And the appointment of an executor is referred to as ‘wasi’. And, same goes for Muslim people; they can engage a Syariah lawyer to do for them too.
The next step after drafting a will is to choose an executor.
What is an executor?
An executor is a handler of our will and is in charge of carrying out the will. The executor needs to go through all the legal proceedings to perform our will. In short, they are the legal representative of our will.
They must assess our assets and liabilities. Such as how many houses or cars we have or how much is our debt. They need to sort out the debts and liabilities before they can distribute our other assets.
So, choose your executor wisely. Sometimes, people choose a lawyer to be their executor as they are more well versed in the law. On the other hand, the non-law background people might find it complicated to carry out an executor’s duty.
In conclusion, we need to be aware of the vitality of having a will–especially for the people who have many assets. Having a will is beneficial to our family or beneficiary. It would save a lot of time if we made it in advance.
Rahayu Partnership provides a wide range of services that cover internationally and locally. We urge everyone to take care and stay safe. For any will or wasiat related issues, we are happy to help.
By Rahayu Partnership, Malaysia
Law Firm Website: www.rahayupartnership.com