Fail to plan is planning to fail. A recent press report stated that there are RM40 billion unclaimed cash and assets left by the dead due to the absence of estate planning of the deceased. Why is that so? This is because most of us spent more than three quarters of our lives trying to accumulate wealth but have never considered making a simple effort such as writing a Wasiat to provide for our loved ones when we are no longer around.
1 : WHAT IS A WASIAT? A Muslim can write a Wasiat BUT he can only dispose up to 1/3 (maximum) of his estate to whoever he wishes except for those who are already entitled under the Syariah Law (Faraid). The residue 2/3 of the estate will be distributed to the immediate heirs according to Syariah Law (Faraid).
A Muslim can will away to persons who will not benefit through Faraid distribution for example, non-heirs, relatives blocked by Faraid, non-Muslim relatives, friends, neighbours or charitable organizations subject to 1/3 rule above. As for Faraid Distribution which is determined in the al-Quran, only immediate heirs will benefit from it.
2 : WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT HAVING A WASIAT? Your loved ones will be left with the NIGHTMARE, HARDSHIP and BURDEN of obtaining Letter of Administrations and the even more difficult task of distributing the assets which can take from 2 to 6 years on average.
3 : WHY YOU NEED A WASIAT?
• Faster Administrative Process
• Cheaper Legal Fee to apply for a Court Order (i.e Grant of Probate)
• Proposing your own Beneficiary(ies) & their Entitlements
• Exemption of Administration Bond
• Appointment of Executor & Trustee
• Appointment of Guardian
• Peace of Mind
4 : WHAT MAKES A VALID WASIAT?
To be valid, A Wasiat must comply with the followings:-
• Testator must must be 18 or above
• Testator must be of sound mind
• Wasiat must be in writing
• Testator must sign or affix his mark at the end of the Wasiat
• The Wasiat must be attested by two (2) witnesses
5 : ARE MUSLIMS ENCOURAGED TO WRITE A WASIAT? YES. Sabda Rasulullah s.a.w. “Seorang muslim yang mempunyai sesuatu yang boleh diwasiatkan tidak sepatutnya tidur selama dua malam berturut-turut melainkan dia menulis wasiat di sisinya.” (Hadis Riwayat Bukhari dan Muslim)
(Translation: “It is not permissible for any Muslim who has something to will to stay for two nights without having his last will and testament written and kept ready with him.”)
6 : DOES A WASIAT NEED TO BE STAMPED OR SEALED? NO. A Wasiat need not be stamped or sealed.
7 : CAN I WRITE MY OWN WASIAT? YES. But you need to be very careful. You have to make sure you comply with the requirements in Q4 as a person can only have one valid Wasiat. At the end of the day, a Wasiat is still a legal document. It is advisable to get professional help when drafting your Wasiat to avoid costly complications later.
8 : WHAT HAPPENS IF BOTH THE WITNESSES HAVE PASSED ON BEFORE THE TESTATOR. IS THE WASIAT STILL VALID OR THE TESTATOR HAS TO RE-WRITE? You do not need to re-write the Wasiat as it will remain valid even if both witnesses passed on before the Testator.
9 : I HAVE WRITTEN A FEW WASIATS? WHICH ONE IS VALID? The latest dated Wasiat is the valid one. It is advisable that any old Wasiats are destroyed when a new Wasiat is written.
10 : WHERE SHOULD I KEEP MY WASIAT? It is very important to ensure that the Wasiat is kept safely. If the Wasiat cannot be found, it is as good as not having written a Wasiat.
The advantages of keeping a Wasiat with a trust corporation such as AmTrustee Berhad include making sure the Wasiat remain confidential, keeping the Wasiat safe from tampering and potential destruction. Also, this is to ensure that your Wasiat could be retrieved quickly and timely.
11 : WHO SHOULD KNOW YOU HAVE A WASIAT? Inform your family members and loved ones that you have written your Wasiat and where it is kept.