The Malaysian Wills Act 1959 is applicable only to non-Muslims as Muslim inheritance is governed under the Syariah law. Muslims would need to prepare a “Wasiat” (equivalent to a Will) and appoint their “Wasi” (equivalent to an executor).
Making a DIY Will is allowed under the Wills Act 1959 and it couldn’t be any easier – a template can be found online for no price at all. But with anything free or cheap, it doesn’t always mean that you should. Though it is a cheap option rather than paying a few hundreds or thousands of dollars, a simple mistake can lead to your estate and beneficiaries paying a much higher price. If errors are made or if the Will is not witnessed in accordance with the strict witnessing requirements of the Wills Act 1959, the Will could end up being completely invalid.
What situation can you DIY your own Will?
Generally, you can always write your own Will when your wishes are very simple and straightforward – no complicated issues. Such situations can be as follows:
You are not married
- You want to leave everything to your parents
- If your parents die before you, you want to leave everything to your siblings.
You are married
- You want to leave everything to your husband/ wife.
- If your husband/ wife dies before you, you want to leave everything to your children.
However, if there is anything more complicated than this such as having stepchildren or you aren’t married to your partner, you should probably use a Will writing service or a lawyer.
What situation should you not DIY your own Will?
If any of these non-exhaustive situations applies to you, it is recommended to engage professional services.
- If you have complex family ties;
- If you have a sizable estate which may include; multiple properties within and/or outside of the jurisdiction and overseas bank accounts;
- If you have a complex business structure; and
- If you have specific wishes that may be complex and might cause misunderstanding between beneficiaries.
What can you do to ensure compliance with the statutory requirements?
If you do decide to write your own Will, these requirements are vital to ensure no future complications or possibilities of it being challenged.
- Requirements of Section 5 of Wills Act 1959;
- You must be at least 18 years old to write a Will;
- You must be of sound mind;
- The will must be in writing;
- You must sign the Will in the presence of at least 2 witnesses;
- The 2 witnesses must then sign in the presence of each other and you;
- Ensure it is signed and dated accordingly; and
- Witnesses must not be a beneficiary.
- Ensure no wrong spelling particularly people’s names;
- Be specific, including full names of the beneficiary, full address and any other details.
- Destroy any old Wills. If you do have an old Will, ensure that you put in a clause where it says you are revoking the old Will – Section 14 of Wills Act 1959; and
- Inform your executor where the Will is kept.
If your Will was successfully challenged by an interested party, the Court may declare it invalid. If such an event occurs, the distribution of the estate will be distributed in accordance with the Distribution Act 1958.
Many people think that having drawn up a DIY Will, they can have adequately completed succession planning only for their families to discover, after their death, that their Will was not as effective as they had hoped. DIY Will can lack thorough instructions meaning that vital information can be missed out.
It is not always necessary to have a professional Will writing service or a lawyer prepare the Will for you. However, it is safest to first consult to ensure that your Will complies with all the statutory requirements and ensure the interest of your loved ones are