The wonderful age of technology for Wills in Malaysia
The era of cellphones, social media, biometrics, geolocation, and even “smart clothes” is a fantastic one. The process of creating a Last Will and Testament hasn’t altered significantly in decades, but there is one industry that appears to have escaped the technological revolution. The legislation governing wills in Malaysia was actually drafted in 1959. At least three significant problems exist with the way we write wills nowadays;
- The majority of persons lack one
Everyone ought to have a will, but the majority of people don’t, and of those who have, the majority aren’t kept up to date. This is a severe problem because when people pass away intestate, their estates are either dispersed against their intentions or, worse, given to the government. There are several causes for this, the most common of which are general procrastination and expense. But, in the majority of situations, it comes down to the false belief that only lawyers are qualified to create wills. Of fact, this is untrue; anyone may create a will; yet, the legal community continues to incite fear in the public by using flimsy comparisons. For example, saying something like, “Use a lawyer because you have to sign it correctly otherwise it is invalid” (you have to sign the document in front of two witnesses…most people can grasp this advice). Yet continuing to use Shakespearean terminology is the greatest way to make the process appear to be beyond the comprehension of the average person. Wills continue to contain phrases like “hence,” “thereof,” and “hereunder,” as well as 250-word sentences. But at WillsMalaysia we remove the legal jargons and make it simple to understand.
- Locating the Will
The most common email WillsMalaysia receives is from a loved one who believes a family member has a will but can’t locate it. If there were a registry of Wills, few people would utilize it because there isn’t one. Furthermore, there is no way to tell if a found Will is the most recent version. In the age of superior technology that we currently inhabit, this system has no place. The only valid Will is a printed document with a handwritten signature. Video wills, digital signatures on wills, and electronic wills are all illegal. Most likely, a person’s Will perished in the house fire along with them. Because everyone’s will was destroyed in the tornado, flood, or tsunami, it will likely be assumed that everyone who perishes in a natural disaster died intestate. And never assume that having a lawyer write your Will will be of any use; for example, we frequently hear, “My father passed away in Ipoh; we don’t know which lawyer he used, but I believe he wrote his Will approximately 25 years ago.” It’s a hopeless predicament.
- Collecting the Assets
Assuming that a Will has been written and the Will has been found, the Will probably says something like “I leave my entire estate to …” . The Executor then has to start gathering up these assets; the life insurance policies, bank accounts, government bonds, share certificates, cash, online accounts. The problem is, the Executor has absolutely no way of knowing when they are done. We wrote about this in a previous article. With WillsMalaysia we have a tool to help, like MyLegacy. But again, it’s a problem that shouldn’t exist in 2023.
We are attempting to assist with each of these difficulties at WillsMalaysia. We will go into greater depth in upcoming blog entries. But the fact that the Wills company seems to have been in a state of limbo for over 60 years is frustrating at a time when I can purchase a pair of shoes equipped with intelligent sensors and an accompanying iPhone app.