What Would Happen If You Died Without Having a Will in Malaysia?

Have you ever come across in your mind that what would happen to your assets if you pass away in Malaysia without a will? How the distribution manner be like?

If you are a non-Muslim, in the case of dying without writing a Will, basically your assets that left behind will be divided in accordance with a pre-determined formula stated in the Distribution Act 1958 (as amended in 1997). This Act is applicable in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

Depending on who you leave behind, the Distribution Act 1958 applied as followed:

  1. Spouse only alive (without parents or issue): Whole estate to surviving Spouse
  2. Issue only alive (without spouse or parents): Whole estate to Issue equally
  3. Parents only alive (without spouse or issue): Whole estate to Parents
  4. Spouse and issue alive (without parents): Spouse – 1/3 & Issue – 2/3
  5. Spouse, issue and parents alive: Spouse – 1/4, Issue – 1/2 & Parents – 1/4
  6. Spouse and parents alive (without issue): Spouse – 1/2 & Parents – 1/2
  7. Issue and parents alive (without spouse): Issue – 2/3 & Parents – 1/3

To note that “Issue” mentioned above is including children and descendants of children, where “Parent” refers to biological father/ mother of a child OR the lawful father/ mother of a child under the Adoption Act 1952.

If there is non-existence of 3 groups of beneficiaries as mentioned above, then your property will be divided equally to the following group/ persons in accordance to priority as listed below:

i) your siblings;

ii) grandparents;

iii) uncles and aunts;

iv) great grandparents;

v) great uncles & aunts;

vi) lastly, Government!

Guess what? The distribution manner as determined in the Distribution Act 1958 may not in your favor, not to mention cumbersome administration process awaits when leaving no Will upon demise.

Hence, to overcome that and have a set of your own dictated way of distributing your wealth, get your Will written is strongly advisable.

Writing a Will simply means that it is an expression of the testator’s (i.e., person who make the Will) intentions in written form regarding on how his/her property is going to be dealt with and other matters that he/she wishes to be carried out after death.

In recent years, there are more and more professional institutions which specializing in Will Writing, such as Rockwills, to help public to draft comprehensive Will according to their intention and instruction.

The main benefits among others to engage such professional bodies like Rockwills to facilitate Will writing is you can ensure that the Will is not only following the formalities stated under Wills Act 1959, but also providing in-depth-customization on the contents of the Will according to your wishes and intentions with the aid of their years of practical knowledge and experiences in estate planning field.

Therefore, you are recommended to consult a Professional Estate Planner or a lawyer who would be in a better position to advise you and draft a Will for you.