There is no doubt that a will is among the most important documents you will ever encounter. After you pass away, it will serve as a way to ensure that they carried out your wishes. It is, therefore, astounding that many Malaysians don’t have one. No matter how proactive you are and have created a will, your loved ones may still be shocked after your death. When drafting a will, its laws can be complex, making mistakes more likely. Minor errors may cause the removal. In addition, it can lead to a contested and void will. The discovery of most mistakes in wills after the owner passes away means that the friends and family have to deal with the mess. We look at the most common mistakes we see to avoid this ordeal.
The Absence Of a Will
Not making a will at all could be the biggest mistake. It’s common for people to feel too young to think about their eventual demise. Another possibility is that they don’t think they have enough money to make a will. Finally, maybe the process seems daunting. However, none of these is acceptable excuses. We have seen estates taken over by the public administrator because of the lack of documents. The beneficiaries may not get their inheritance for months or years when this happens.
An Incorrect Witness Signed The Will
To sign a valid will, two people must be present:
- Citizens of Malaysia who are at least 18 years old
- Do not list themselves as beneficiaries in the will or are married to a beneficiary
For the will to be valid, sign the document in the presence of two witnesses.
Changing Your Will After You Have Signed It
It is impossible to amend a will without an official alteration once witnessed and signed. Changing an existing document would require you to submit an official amendment called a codicil or create an entirely new will. In the same way that a will must be signed and witnessed, a codicil must also be signed and witnessed. It is possible to add as many codicils to it as you like, although making a new will may be more manageable.
Having No Idea What Overrides a Will
The terms of your will do not dictate how to handle your finances. Your investments, retirement plans, and life insurance policies take precedence over provisions in your will. Joint tenancy also takes precedence over this document. For instance, if you name three kids in your will but only one child on your bank account, the one indicated receives the items. You can ensure that all assets flow through the will by naming the grantor’s estate as the beneficiary.
Not Updating Your Will
Life events could change the outcome of a will that many people do not know. For example, you might experience:
- A new child or grandchild is born
- Divorce or marriage
- Losing a loved one
- Buying a new home
Having an up-to-date policy will ensure there is no confusion after these events.
A keepsake may be something you want to give a relative. How do you handle having multiple items with similar characteristics or relatives with similar names? They can create tension.
Property Not Included In The Will Not Taken Into Account
It is possible to have most assets (life insurance, pensions, bank accounts, etc.) pass directly to the designated beneficiary. A will does not apply to these assets, so consulting a professional would be helpful in this case.
Not Designating The Right Executor
If you seek an executor to settle your estate, carefully consider who is qualified to perform those duties. Be mindful of conflicting interests. Family members are sometimes not the best choice, mainly if you trust your sibling to handle family members. Bad results are likely! Make sure the person you choose is aware ahead of time. The job may not interest them, so they do not appreciate the surprise. It is more common for them to feel honoured. Tell them now instead of waiting until you’re gone.
Keep a backup executor if your first choice can’t do the job.
Failure To Establish a Bloodline Trust
Take a look at this scenario. Upon your death, they will give your property to your daughter and her husband, a person you never liked very much. After a couple of years, they divorce, and he ends up with half of your hard-earned money. You can see what happens without a bloodline trust. In a bloodline trust, you can specify that only direct descendants of your family – such as blood children and grandchildren – are entitled to assets.
Personal Property Not Addressed
Conflict can arise when people fail to clarify who gets what property. For example, the heirs should typically divide personal property equally – such as clothing, furniture, and jewellery. But then you have to ask what is “equal.” It can cause fights about pieces with no economic value but great sentimental value.t Make it easier for your heirs by addressing this in your will about particular items they find essential. You can also allow beneficiaries to choose specific items in rotation.