Common mistakes to watch out for in a will

Although writing one’s wishes to pass on one’s assets in a will seem straightforward, there are mistakes commonly made that often block granting of probate by the Court.

There are different kinds of gift in a will. For example: gifts of a specific amount of money (such as I give MYR5,000/- to my best friend) or a residuary gift (I give to my local Charity 10% of my residuary estate) Provided there is enough cash left, the first gift can take effect. However, for the 10% gift to the Charity to take effect, the value of entire estate must be ascertained first. This may delay the final distribution. Good drafting would prevent any one gift from derailing the others and making everyone wait until they have the final figure. If there is a cash flow problem, this could be devastating to the family!

Another serious and common ‘pothole’ is that names are incorrectly spelt at best, or just plain wrong. People named in the will may have married, changed their name but are referred to in the will by their former name. Equally, divorced people often revert to their previous name. It is really important that all names in a will are complete and correct, the final reference being the birth certificate.

A friend once asked me why she had to go through probate after her father died. Her question: “why couldn’t she just go in and take possession of his house” really made me think!

Everything a person owns has a ‘title’: property, bank accounts, cars, possessions. For a house, the ownership of the land in which it stands is held by the Land Registry. To transfer the title of the house from the deceased to the beneficiary, the Land Registry requires a Grant of Probate.

Cars can be a real problem as once the registered owner dies, the insurance in his name then lapses. If the right clause is in the will, it can then be transferred to the beneficiary.

Mistakes made may either render the will invalid in its entirety or render part of the will under intestacy. The end result is more legal costs will be incurred by the estate.

We at HERITANCE WILLS consider it imperative to get your will done right to
protect your family members against delay in execution of your estate.



How to ensure your will cannot be challenged by non-heirs? 

 How to create wills or legal instruments with the correct legal
terms to smoothen 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