In this article let’s look at what you need to do to execute a will left by your loved one. Usually this is the grieving stage and there could be more pressing matters to look into. Once the immediate matters have been settled then the family will have the time to look into the decedent’s estate and discuss next steps. Here we give you a general idea of the steps involved.
- Locate the Last Will and Testament
The first thing you’ll need to do is find is the decedent’s last will and testament. It is required because you have to review and understand who is the executor of the Last Will and Testament before taking further action.
Where to find the last will and testament? Here are few places where you can find the Last Will and Testament:
- In the decedent’s home.
- In the decedent’s office.
- With the spouse.
- With the adult children
- A trusted friend
- With the decedent’s lawyer, the lawyer might have the original or copy of the Last Will and Testament.
- In a safe deposit box, but this can be a little intricate since the bank does not grant access to anyone other than the owner itself. Please note a safe deposit box is not a recommended place to keep a will.
2. Apply to the court for a grant of Probate
When a person dies their estate would be frozen which means the decedent’s bank account and assets cannot be moved or sold. So, the executor needs the grant of Probate so that he/she would be able to administer the assets of the deceased. Once the application is made, it will be considered by the High Court at a hearing. After the grant of probate is issued the executor can distribute the estate according to the Last Will and Testament.
How to apply for a grant of Probate?
The executor should provide a few forms to the court as below:
- The death certificate of the Deceased
- A photocopy of the executor’s Identity card (IC)
- Photocopy of all the beneficiaries Identity card (IC)
- Copy of the Last Will and Testament
- Land evidence of property ownership
- Home loan statement if there is one
- Bank account details of the deceased
- Documentations of other assets
- Documentations of other debts
Most importantly you have to apply for the grant of probate within 30 days after the Last Will and Testament has been found. The court reserves the right to request for more documents but generally the above should suffice.
3. Payoff Liabilities
The Executor should take steps to pay off the deceased’s debts or taxes which were owed by the deceased. The deceased’s funeral expenses should be paid off first. Before paying any other debts the Executor is entitled to claim any expenses relating to the administration of the estate.
4. Asset distribution
Once the executor has paid off the debts and taxes of the deceased, the executor can start distributing the assets according to the will. Specific property or gifts named in the will can be transferred to the beneficiaries including any donations to charity that is specified in the will. When that is done the executor must file a closing statement to the court. The executor must declare that the last wishes of the deceased have been carried out and ask the court to close the estate. Once the executor has sent out this statement, their work is complete.
5. Prepare statement of account
Lastly, the executor must file in financial data including the activity in the estate account . Close the estate bank account and send a copy of all estate activity to all the beneficiaries.
The above are steps involved to execute a Will. Depending on an individual’s experience, an executor may or may not know how to deal with the courts, banks, land office and many other services. Some people may opt to appoint a lawyer to manage these activities. Our group of lawyers at WillsMalaysia have the expertise to deal with the various branches of governments and financial institutions. Our services are offered at a very reasonable and competitive price. Should you need one, feel free to Contact Us.