People are scared away from writing their own Will, not for lack of trying but for the fear of getting it wrong. Lawyers will always claim that it is a difficult task that only people in the legal profession truly understand how to write a will. More often than not with a little bit of scaremongering, lawyers somehow convince people that they should pay a lot of money for legal advice even though their wishes may be very simple.
There are definitely certain legal elements that absolutely have to belong in every Will and it is possible that in attempting to handwrite a Will from scratch, these elements can be overlooked, and they usually are. Here is an example of how things can go wrong.
Mr Krishnasamy was a well-educated man, he was a university professor and had already authored a number of books. So, it would seem that writing a Will should be easily within his intellectual capabilities. Especially when his wishes were seemingly quite straightforward; he wanted everything that he owned to go to his mother and to be equally shared with his brother. Generally a court would try and respect a person’s wishes if they can be deciphered, but in this Will there were both mutually exclusive wishes and there were also extra bequests that could not be quantified or sourced. In short, you can’t say “leave everything I own to Marianne and leave a half of everything I own to Jamie”.
The other critical mistake was that the witnesses to the signing of the document were his mother and brother; both beneficiaries in the Will. This alone under Wills Act 1959 would nullify the Will.
So, what are the important lessons here? If you use an interactive service like the one at WillsMalaysia.my you are guided through the process each step of the way. The signing instructions are included as part of the service, and yes, it is a good idea to read them. Simply put, to make your document legal it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who cannot benefit from the contents of the Will.
It is also important to read through one’s Will once it is completed to make sure there are no conflicting requests. You can’t leave the same thing to more than one person.