What Happens If I Do Not Have A Will?

Drawing up a will is one of the most important – and simplest – things you can do for you and your family. With a will, you can spell out how you would like your estate to be handled after you have passed on.

A person who passes away with a valid will is known as a testator. The executor named in the will is responsible for handling the estate. According to the Malaysian Probate and Administration Act 1959, the executor must first apply for a Grant of Probate in the High Court. Once the Grant of Probate is extracted, the executor must pay off the debts and liabilities of the testator before distributing the remainder of the estate according to the will.

If there is no will, the estate is said to be intestate. The family members of the deceased will have to appoint a representative, ie an administrator. The  administrator will need to first apply for a Letter of Administration in the High Court. Without a will to convey the deceased’s intentions, the Distribution Act 1958 will determine how the estate shall be distributed. The order of priority of beneficiaries are spouse, children, parents.  Thereafter siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts.

“Why leave a will when my estate can still be distributed without one?” With a will, there will be lesser arguments between your family members as to how your estate should be distributed. Even to appoint an Administrator where there is no will is an issue with sibling rivalry in some families for a single demised aged parent. Until the Grant of Probate is extracted your family will have no access to your assets.  The probate procedure is faster by a least a few months in most cases. Further, Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa holders have a duty to inform the necessary Ministries within 3 months of the principal holder’s demise, so this would put tremendous strain on the surviving spouse to handle probate, let alone an intestacy situation.

A will not only dictates how your estate should be distributed; it is also a last act of showing practical love for your family members in that you have ensured that they are fully protected.

To learn more on :

  • How to ensure that your assets will be properly distributed
  • Creating Wills / Legal Instruments with the correct legal terms to ensure that your intentions will be carried out
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

About the author

Ms. Kim Khoo

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