Borneo Post with the expert help of Rockwills Trustee Bhd, the leading specialist in estate planning having pioneered wills and trust 25 years ago, is publishing a regular Q&A column on estate planning. It will feature questions which readers have in mind but don’t know who to ask”
Question 1: My father is suffering from dementia. There are times that he is fine but there are times where he does not remember who I am. May I know if he can write a will?
Rockwills Answer: The Wills Act 1959 requires a person to be of sound mind when he does his will. This includes the person being able to understand the nature of his act and the effect of signing the will, knowing what assets he is giving away and to whom he is giving those assets.
The fact that your father at times suffers from memory loss is an indication that there is a medical condition hindering his mental capacity to do a will. It is very unfortunate, but we think it is too late for your father to write his will now without a high probability of his will being invalidated, unless his doctor can attest as a witness that his mind was lucid and he had the mental capacity at the time of signing of his will.
Question 2: Hi, I am Chinese, we are a Christian family except for my eldest daughter who has converted to Islam when she got married to her Muslim husband. May I know if I can name all my children, my son-in-law and my grandchildren as the beneficiaries in my will?
Rockwills Answer: Yes, you can name anyone of any religion as your beneficiary. As you are not a Muslim, the Faraid distribution under Islamic law does not apply to you. However, you should be aware that any assets given to a Muslim beneficiary will be distributed under Faraid when the beneficiary departs.
It is recommended that your eldest daughter, her children and her spouse be given particular assets without sharing it with your other children or beneficiaries. This will prevent fragmentation of ownership in property and businesses which can lead to disputes among them in the future.
We recommend that you consult an experienced estate planner to discuss your estate plan to avoid any inheritance pitfalls to your family in the future.
This Q&A Column in published as a joint public service and educational initiative with Rockwills Trustee Bhd. Please email your questions related to estate planning to [email protected] or Rockwills’ training and business development assistant general manager Sam Chan ([email protected]).