Despite the high costs involved in litigation, inheritance disputes are one of the most common cases in court. One may ask, “What motivates claimants to fork out their money on estate claims?”
According to the Valuation and Property Services Department, from 2005 to 2015, Malaysia’s house prices rose by 96.1%. From 2016 to 2018, house prices rose by an annual average of 5.2%. Although the economy has slowed down due to the measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, properties and land are still worth an arm and a leg, especially in the bigger cities. Claimants find the gamble worthwhile, as they are creating an opportunity to inherit property or land where the value surpasses the litigation costs.
Nowadays, divorces are increasingly common. It would not be unusual for a person to have former spouses and also children from previous marriages or even relationships. These spouses and children who are excluded from the will of the deceased may commence estate claims for several reasons, such as being financially dependent on the deceased prior to his or her death.
In this day and age, cohabitation has become a norm. However, in the eyes of the law unmarried couples are not automatically entitled to a share of their partner’s estate unless a will was made in their favour. Estate claims by partners tend to be on the basis that they should be treated as a family member, if not a spouse; therefore they should benefit from the estate as well.
Some testators favour non-family members such as friends or carers (e.g. the infamous maid in the recent movie “Knives Out”) in their wills where there is family estrangement. Legal claims would then be filed by the estranged family members, hoping for a chance to get a slice of the pie. The court will often take steps to ascertain the deceased’s intentions by asking the claimants to prove, amongst other considerations, their relationship with the deceased.
Challenges to the estate can be made regardless of whether there is a will. But with a will, especially one that is properly created, it would be extremely difficult for a challenge to succeed, lessening the risk of diminishing your legacy with legal costs. To ensure that your loved ones are not burdened with inheritance disputes, the best option would be to seek professional advice in drawing up a water tight will.
We at HERITANCE WILLS ensure
your legacy is protected
How to safeguard your legacy against legal claims?
How to create wills or other legal instruments that will minimise inheritance disputes?
Take the first step towards your peace of mind