DEATH is an issue nobody likes to talk about, but it is a certainty in this life.
This is likely due to the Asian culture where death is a rarely or openly discussed subject among families which could lead to complications later on for the loved ones.
“It is a certainty but the Asian culture fails to talk about death adequately. Many times, the parents don’t really talk about this to their children. Such as, when a parent passes away, who will be in charge of the family’s business, ” Rockwills Advisory Services Sdn Bhd’s general manager and associate estate planning practitioner Jason Tham told StarBiz.
“Many times, the children are also helping out in the family business and as the founder and business owner it is difficult for the parents to say that they are their children’s boss and parent at the same time. While in some other instances, siblings may be unhappy if parents outrightly choose one over the other to take over the family business.
"A lot of people have an inkling that this is an important topic to talk about but they don’t know where to start, ” Tham added.
He noted that recent business trends for Rockwills have indicated that awareness among Malaysians on the importance of writing a will have been on the rise as business volume in this area have grown.
Writing one’s will in advance will also help ease the transition for a person’s loved ones in terms of matters pertaining to inheritance.
Other than the importance of being more open in discussing death, Tham said it is important for a person to choose a good executor for the will.
“The executor will be acting on a person’s (demised) will. So appointing a capable executor is a very important task and a common mistake made by many is to overlook this part of choosing a capable executor. Some of the characteristics to look out for in a capable executor is that the person must be reliable and trustworthy, ” Tham said.
“Some good examples of a good executor can be a person’s spouse. Since this is a person whom you can trust and this person would know and can execute your wishes in regards to inheritance.
“We must also know that this person chosen will continue to be in existence, ” he added.
Tham explained that continuing to be in existence generally means that as a general guideline, one should try not to appoint their parents as their will executors.
“Most likely a person’s parents would be much older and the chances of them continuing to be in existence would be lower.
“If there are no untoward or unexpected incidences, most likely your parents will pass away before you. An executor will execute a person’s will when a person is gone, ” he said.
Tham said usually, a family member will be selected as executors and they are usually candidates that would naturally be a priority.
“In some cases, a person might require a neutral body to execute a person’s will and this is when a professional estate planning firm may come in handy, ” he said.
“One example when this may be applicable is when a father would like to give his inheritance to his children but they are not on good terms with each other.
“So it is very difficult for the client to appoint one of them to be executors since they would likely be biased and it can create more fights among them. So this is when a licensed trustee is useful to carry out the demised’s will wishes, ” Tham said.
A licensed trustee can also help carry out a person’s wishes in the event that both parents are not around with minors or offsprings who are not yet considered adults, he said.