The Covid-19 pandemic has produced a rise in estate planning, but not a large enough rise as we were expecting. Most Malaysians still do not have a last will and testament. Many believe that they don’t have enough in assets like money or properties to warrant a will, or that their savings will automatically go to their next of kin. Both assumptions are incorrect.
There is not enough data and research in Malaysia to conclude a study and report on will behaviour. However there were many studies done in North America that we can review.
Surveys conducted by a number of online services found that 32% of young people ages 18 to 34 said they got a will because of Covid-19. Moreover, 21% of that age group also drew up a will specifically because they or someone they knew had Covid-19.
Of those who do have a will, just over a quarter, or 26%, got one because they were fearful of serious illness or death related to Covid-19.
However, the majority of Americans and Canadians still do not have a will, just like Malaysians.
The survey found that 62% don’t have a will and, of those who do, 12% created them in the past 12 months — and 44%, in the last three years.
Many people think that they don’t have enough in assets to warrant a will, or that their money will automatically go to their next of kin. Both assumptions are factually wrong. It is crucial to get the facts and put planning in place to protect those you love and ensure that you are the one to decide how your possessions and money will be distributed. It’s your legacy, you decide.
Fact #1: If you die without a will, the Distribution Act 1958 writes one for you. So, if you don’t want the wrong person to have ownership of your estate, write up a will now, while you are of sound mind and good health. It’s your legacy, you decide.
Fact #2: You are never too young to have a will. Wills Act 1949 says a non-Muslim 18 years and older can write their own will. It would be nice to live a long life but there is always the chance that you may not. Unless you have a will, your loved ones may be left with a mess that they will have to unravel. If you own anything, anything at all and if you are 18 and older, you should have a will in place. It’s your legacy, you decide.
Fact #3: A verbal agreement cannot be enforced legally. Suppose you let everyone know that you would like your mother to take care of your children, but then what if your mother-in-law decides she wants them as well? Without a will, the decision of who gets the children is up to the court. Choose your guardians wisely. It’s your legacy, you decide.
Fact #4: Decisions are made according to the most recent, updated will. Life Insurance and EPF beneficiaries are not covered under the Wills Act 1959. Remember to update the beneficiaries separately. It’s your legacy, you decide.
Fact #5: You do not need a lawyer to write a will. Here at WillsMalaysia we offer a comprehensive service at a fraction of the cost. You have nothing to lose so check it out. It’s your legacy, you decide.
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