How to Make Wills for Malaysia Law

By John Toivonen
Writing a will in Malaysia is similar to writing one in England.

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To make a will in Malaysia you must be over 18 and be of sound mind. Being clear about your goals in the will is also crucial. For historical reasons, Malaysian law regarding wills is similar to the law in England and other common law countries. But you should carefully review Malaysia's Wills Act of 1959 to ensure that you are creating a will that a national court will honor.

Writing a Will in Malaysia

Clearly identify the property that you are giving in your will.

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You must write your will. In Malaysia oral wills are not valid. Draft a will so that it is clear that you are giving your property away after your death. Clearly describe what you are giving away and to whom you are giving that property. For example, it is fine to say that you are giving to your house to your sister if you own one house only. But if you own two or more houses, state the exact address of the house you intend to leave to your sister.

You can bequeath anything that you own including land, leases, shares in an estate, money, securities, and an interest in litigation.

Write words of limitation to create a life estate.

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Use clear and exact language when giving rights to real property. In Malaysia it is presumed that a right to an estate is a fee simple, i.e. a total interest in the property. If you intend to create a life estate--the right to use property during a person's lifetime--use words that limit the right. Say something like, "A to B for life."

Two people must be witnesess to the signing of your will.

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Sign your will in the presence of two witnesses. Then have the witnesses sign the will. Any mentally competent adult can serve as a witness provided they are not a beneficiary of the will. A beneficiary or their spouse cannot serve as a witness without forfeiting any gift you intend to leave them. The remaining provisions of your testament would, however, be honored in this situation.

Sign the will at the foot of the page or at the end of the will. While the law may recognize a signature in another place as valid, it is best to follow the instruction to sign at the end of the document. Do not include any additional bequests after you have signed the will or those gifts will not be honored. If you are not able to sign the will, instruct another person to sign it your presence and the presence of two witnesses.

About the Author

John Toivonen is an attorney in Lansing, Mich., and has been a professional writer since 1999. His work has appeared in "The Washington Times." He holds a Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Guilford College.

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