A will for assets in each jurisdiction

In these perilous times of the highly contagious Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) it is absolutely essential for an expat to ensure that his or her loved ones are fully protected should the undesirable happen.  Have you equipped and empowered your spouse, partner, or next of kin to deal with your assets in a foreign land with a foreign legal system? What about the assets left  in your country of origin or  for some who have resided  under working visas in 2 or 3 other countries in between, those assets?  It is common for a trail of assets to have been created and left in more than one country.

If you have bought property in Malaysia, then Malaysian probate laws apply to first extract an Order of Probate from the court.  Thereafter, the Malaysian Land Registry controls the change of ownership; first to the appointed executor in your will; then to your beneficiaries. Likewise, if you originated from United Kingdom and owned a property there, a will must go through the probate system there. If you only have one will then your beneficiaries would have to wait for an Order of Probate issued in Malaysia  to be resealed  in United Kingdom before your beneficiaries can receive your assets. If cash flow is tight, any delay could be disastrous for your beneficiaries.

It is perfectly possible, in fact practically wise to have more than one will to cover your assets in each jurisdiction. Each will must be properly drawn up, restricted to the country and type of property it is intended to cover. If not done properly there is a risk that one will may revoke another or worst case contradict each other which then attract litigation over your estate!  In the long run, the cost of complications and subsequent lawyer’s fees to sort out the legal mess far outweighs the cost of having wills drawn up by one person, albeit a senior legal practitioner, preferably specialising in multi-jurisdiction succession laws.

If you are investing or ‘parking’ your money in off-shore banks, do give this serious thought. If you have a young family dependant on you, then the delays could cause serious consequences for your spouse, and even worse for minor children if both parents die.

We at HERITANCE WILLS consider it a privilege to assist you to protect your
family members against such a tragedy.


How to ensure that your assets in each jurisdiction are protected?

How to create wills or other legal instruments to ensure smooth
distribution of your estate?


Take the first step towards your peace of mind.

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About the author

Ms. Kim Khoo

P.J.K, C.L.P., LL.B (Hons) London
Principal Legal Consultant