The making of a will

It is not a matter of just typing out a standard document, but also of being aware of what you want.

ALMOST everyone knows what a will means. It has two distinct meanings.

The first strict meaning is metaphysical and denotes the sum of what a testator wishes or wills to happen on his death. The second and more common meaning is physical and denotes the document in which that intention is expressed.

Whilst there are laws that govern the making of a will, there is no legal requirement that a will must be made.

When a will is made it must comply with the requirements of the law. Failure to do so could result in the will being invalid. Of course, this is not to say that the invalidity may not be welcomed by certain quarters.

In the states of peninsular Malaysia, it is the Wills Act of 1959 and in Sabah it is the Sabah Wills Ordinance Cap 158, whilst the peninsular Malaysian Act has been extended to Sarawak. In all cases, the legislation is not applicable to Muslims and in Sabah and Sarawak, to the natives.

In the case of Muslims, inheritance of property has to be in accordance with the principles of syariah laws.

As regards non-Muslims, if there is no will, the Distribution Act 1958 provides for such inheritance to devolve in the stated proportions to the nearest and dearest.

A person can prepare a will for himself or herself so long as the intricacies of the law are appreciated and understood. But a will should not be made by just copying someone else’s will or taking a template and changing the names of the testator, the name of the beneficiaries and description of the assets.

There is obviously a difference between a lawyer preparing a will and professional will writers.

For lawyers, it is part of their professional work when approached. On the other hand, the latter market the service aggressively. It has some similarities with the push-and-pull approach in the broadcasting industry.

Promotional material published by the latter to encourage people to use such services has carried headings like, “Where there is a will … there is money to be made”. The latter also engage in creating and making available DIY kits for persons to draw up a will on their own.

by Bhag Singh.

Read more @

Comments are closed.