KUALA LUMPUR: Only two million people, or about 28% of the total seven million people that make up the working population in Malaysia, have a will, according to MWD Wills Depository Sdn Bhd.
The number is a far cry from countries such as the United States and the UK, where 40% and 41% of the adult population have a will. In Australia there is even greater awareness of estate planning with about 55% of adult Australians having made a will.
According to Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM) chief executive officer Linnet Lee among the reasons people gave for not writing a will are lack of awareness, procrastination or preferring to wait until one is older to do so.
Another reason often cited is they don’t know who to trust.
A will is a legal document that ensures a person’s assets are distributed according to their wishes when they die.
“I suggest people to start looking at writing their wills once they have assets including cars, cash money, jewelleries and of course properties and land,” Lee said to a group of reporters after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between FPAM and MWD Wills Depository recently.
Under the partnership, WillKey, a unit of MWD Wills Depository, will be one of the financial solutions partner of FPAM’s SmartFinance.my. - a public education platform on personal finance.
Willkey is Malaysia’s first will registry and serves as a central registry where testators can register information about whereabouts or deposit originals or copies of their wills.
MWD Wills Depository director Sheila De Costa said through its partnership with FPAM, the company aims to create and improve awareness on how will registration, storage and search can play a role in the efficient management of assets.
“We look forward to working with FPAM and its members to share knowledge on how easy location of a will, when needed, is very important to enable efficient administration of the deceased’s estate and to avert disputes on the intentions of the deceased,” added De Costa.
Statistics from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment showed that the value of unclaimed estates left by the deceased since independence in Malaysia stood a whopping RM60bil as at February 2016.
De Costa said wills may kept at different places such as at homes, offices, banks or with lawyers and will writing service providers. But over time the testator may misplace it or there are incidents like fire or floods, which could compromise the safety and security of the will.
This is where WillKey steps in as a centralised registry that allows predetermined persons such as executors, lawyers or next-of-kin to access information on that particular will.
There is a one-time registration fee of RM133.33 while will storage is available for as low as RM3.33 a month.