With fresh lessons learnt from the pandemic, parents are awaken to the grave possibility that if they were to die without a will, their young children would be stranded without care by another suitably chosen guardian.
To ensure that your child will be cared for in such a tragedy, a will is a mandatory need, not an option to be entertained only. In your will, you can appoint a legal guardian of your choice so that the guardian is someone carefully selected by you.
If you leave behind no will, the court will appoint a guardian for your child according to the Malaysian Guardianship of Infants Act 1961 (any child below the age of eighteen is an ‘infant’). There is no automatic legal guardianship for grandparents, relatives, or close family friends. Those interested in becoming the legal guardian of the child will have to apply to the court, who will then assess whether the applicant is suitable based on several considerations, such as:
- the applicant’s financial security;
- the applicant’s existing relationship with the child; and
- the applicant’s good character.
For expatriates who have established their family in a foreign country, their children are particularly vulnerable. They will face difficulties in trying to return to their home country, as their travel papers are dependent on their parents’. If they return, they will have to adapt to a new environment, and may be unfamiliar with the members of their extended family. In this situation, a temporary guardian may be appointed.
A guardian’s role includes inter alia managing the inheritance of the child, making decisions about the child’s continued education, and essentially ensuring the basic needs of the child is met. Other than basic needs, surely a parent would desire for the guardian to form loving relationships with their children. So who will be up to the job? The parents are the ideal persons to make the choice, not the court or welfare authorities.
So parents should not put off drawing up a will. No one knows better than the parents in deciding who would be the best guardian to care for their child. So this is a task no parent should put off, especially in these very unpredictable times.
To learn more on :
- How to appoint Legal Guardians for your minor children?
- How to create Wills / Legal Instruments with the correct legal terms to ensure that your family and loved ones are fully protected?