Decide who will care for the children

March 8 was International Women's Day.

It was also the day MH370 disappeared. Its loss, still raw in the hearts of families and next-of-kin, remind us of the need to get some matters prepared.

Will to write one

The abrupt departure of loved ones can leave a messy trail for the family members left behind. Life is demanding enough but when there is unexpected death of a person, family members are left to deal with the grief and bureaucracy that govern every aspect of our existence. To leave our loved ones without a will is to put them in misery.

A client is in such predicament. Left with a one-room flat valued at less than RM40,000 in the heart of the city, she wants to pass on her share to her 10-year-old nephew. However, she learned the flat has seven other “owners” and three of them have passed away.

The flat is worth “nothing” to her nephew as he won’t get to own it. Not unless my client gets a letter of administration to transfer her mother’s share to her nephew and her sisters’ children do the same.

Children’s welfare

Writing a will is a must, especially when children are present. In Malaysia, the mother or father is the automatic guardian when the other parent passes away. However, when both parents die at the same time and no will exists, the orphaned children go under the care of the Welfare Department. Neither parents nor siblings of the deceased parents have rights to the children.

A will facilitates:

1. Appointment of guardian for children whilst both parents are present to decide the best person to care for their children. This ensures the chosen guardian shares similar values. Choosing a guardian whom the children are familiar with helps to minimise the trauma suffered by the young ones when they lose their parents.

2. Allocation of funds to ensure the children’s their daily living and educational needs are supported. A will allows parents to instruct where and how to draw funds to provide for the children and guardian, if needed.

It’s important that hardships and heartaches for our family, especially the children, are minimised by leaving our legacy to them in a simple testamentary document such as a will.

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