Many Malaysians still have misconceptions on writing wills

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  • Tuesday, 01 Oct 2013

MALACCA: Close to two million inheritance claims valued at RM45bil are still frozen by various agencies due to lack of legitimate trust instruments.

A source told Star Metro that the figure does not include unclaimed monies in various agencies such as Amanah Raya Berhad (ARB), Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and other financial institutions.

In 2006, the source said it was estimated that one million inheritance claims value at RM38bil were still frozen.

This amount rose in early 2007 where frozen estates wasRm40bil - RM38bil in real estates, RM1.5bil in cash money and RM70mil in EPF.

“In 2009, the value of the frozen estates was at RM42bil and out of this figure, RM1.8bil was still stuck at Unclaimed Monies Registry Board,” the source said.

The source also said that statistics show that in 2011, an estimated RM42bil of the frozen estates that should be distributed to 500,000

beneficiaries have not reached them as they did not have legitimate wills.

“This shocking statistic expected to increase every year as many are unaware that their estates and properties could be frozen accordingly to the Distribution Act 1958 (Amended 1997) without a will,” he said.

The source said that the current Malaysia population is 29,868,013 where mortality rate is 4.97/1,000 people which is approximately over 140,000 deaths per annum while almost 90% of Malaysians have no valid trust to assign their estates to their next of kin.

A senior professional estate planner of Rockwills, Evelyn Bek Siew Chen when contacted said awareness should be created on the importance of will-writing that is not confined to the rich and famous only.

The 32-year-old realised that most Malaysians are oblivious that their assets could be frozen upon their demise and only a small percentage have wills written.

“Without a will it would be troublesome for the family members at their most vulnerable time.

“They could become entangled in long drawn legal process complex judiciary battle where the law would subsequently decide whom the beneficiaries should be,” she said.

Bek said based on the misconception that will-writting is only for the affluent without realising the imperativeness of having a legal document declaring a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of their assets and property, drawn-out.

“We could assist any “ordinary Joe” to prepare a will to secure the interest of family,” she said.

She added without a will, the next-of-kin, would be deterred by delay in legal process from two to five years coupled with costly legal fees.

“Regardless of being rich or poor we are bound by the rule of the country we live in which includes the provision of estate distribution.

“Sadly, some people think that writing a will is a taboo, signifying he or she is leaving the world soon,” she said.

Bek said many presume that once they pass on, their estate will be automatically transferred to their families.

“I wish to change these people’s mindset that will is a legal document appointing an executor to be in charge of your assets and specifying how you want your assets to be distributed upon demise.

According to Bek, will-writting is the best way to ensure that the money and properties accumulated are distributed accordingly.

Michael Ching, Bek’s business partner said that having a will written provides beneficiaries their family’s inheritance rather than allowing the Distribution Act 1958 decides what should be.

He added that the process of writing a will is painless so it is not worth the risk to jeopardise one family’s future just because the uneasy element arises whenever the subject of death is mentioned.

Ching said with just RM380, anyone could have a will and it stays legal forever until the person wishes to make any amendments on his or her will.

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