What exactly is a Last Will and Testament? and do you need a lawyer to prepare one?
According to Wikipedia it’s “A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person’s (testator) wishes as to how their property (estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which person (executor) is to manage the property until its final distribution.“
Now, the key to this sentence is “legal document”, the question that this raises is “what makes a piece of paper a legal Last Will and Testament? ”
This is defined by Malaysia Wills Act 1959 as “”will” means a declaration intended to have legal effect of the intentions of a testator with respect to his property or other matters which he desires to be carried into effect after his death and includes a testament, a codicil and an appointment by will or by writing in the nature of a will in exercise of a power and also a disposition by will or testament of the guardianship, custody and tuition of any child.”
So the publicly accepted definition of a will and the legal definition of the legal paper means a written will and signed by two witnesses is all you need to complete your Last Will and Testament.
Having said the above, I’d like to caution you about good Wills and bad Wills. A bad Will is a blank form DIY will kit sold in stationery stores and online. A blank piece of paper is no way to prepare your Will.
A good Will is made up of tried and tested legal clauses that have been used by lawyers in Malaysia for decades and are known to work. Unfortunately these Wills end up with impenetrable wording that nobody except the legal industry uses; words like wheresoever and hereinafter something that you and I do not use on a daily basis, but they are known to work and so they continue to appear in Wills.
Even interactive online services like WillsMalaysia.my use these same clauses; they may not be the most intuitive expressions of a person’s estate planning wishes, but they are known to work because, believe it or not, they are unambiguous. But to save you the trouble and heartache of understanding these legal jargons, we built a wizard that will go through with you a series of questions in simple and easy to understand language. Behind the scenes however our cutting edge technology compiles your inputs together and creates a legally acceptable Will. So, in essence, anyone can write their own Will and you don’t need a lawyer. It is important to use established legal clauses in your Will with a structure that is known to work. That is why the interactive online services like WillsMalaysia is becoming increasingly popular.