PETALING JAYA: About 20% of Malaysians might have a will, but whether they are valid is another matter altogether, says the Malaysian Institute of Estate Planners (MIEP).
MIEP president See Kok Leong said invalid wills were usually done by the testators themselves, who might not be aware of what was legally required for a valid will.
They might not have a witness present during the signing, or the will might not have been dated, rendering it invalid – “the same as having no will because the courts won’t recognise it,” said See.
Beneficiaries would not be able to confirm the location of one’s assets, and the will could contradict certain legal clauses.
“There have been instances where business partnerships fall into the hands of family members who are not familiar with the work, or minors becoming guardianless,” he told FMT.
While the Covid-19 pandemic had shown that no age group was immune to the virus, most people have yet to prepare their wills and trusts because they believe they were too young to do so, he said.
“If you don’t have a will or trust, you’re only causing problems for your family members. It would have been better if there was no money involved, then everyone would just go home. But when there’s money involved, they will begin to fight,” he said.
He said only about a fifth of Malaysians had prepared their wills and this low number might cause the amount of unclaimed monies to continue increasing.
“People should start doing their will once they have assets or a family, or from the age of 30 onwards,” he said.
To encourage people to prepare their wills, MIEP is working on a proposal for a one-time tax relief for creating a will, of about RM500, to be provided in the 2023 federal budget.
“There is currently no such incentive,” he said.
The institute is currently holding activities for the Malaysia Wills Week until Sept 9, with talks being conducted in collaboration with organisations such as the social security organisation (Socso), Employees Provident Fund and others.