Tragedy Strikes Like Lightning

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Just less than two weeks ago five members of a family were killed and three others injured when the car they were travelling in collided with a trailer lorry which is believed to have been overtaking another car from the opposite direction. The dead were the father, his three children and mother-in-law. Those injured were the mother of the family and another two children. Another daughter is still studying overseas. It is always sad to read this kind of news and even more heart wrenching when you see their funeral in the newspapers. I believe that those who have followed this news feel very sympathetic to the family and hope that we won’t face this situation with our family one day. A tragic accident like this is a grim reminder to all of us that life is so fragile and it can happen to us anytime because tragedy strikes like lightning. In light of such tragedy, we should ask ourselves what kind of financial security can we provide for our family, should anything happen to us?

One of the ways to provide financial security is to do a will and trust for the family. Assuming that the deceased father died without a will, the first issue that needs to be addressed is the appointment of Administrators for his estate to apply for the Letter of Administration. Once the Administrators have been appointed, then two guarantors (known as sureties) are required to provide the Administration Bond which is equivalent to the gross value of the deceased’s estate. With this in place the distribution of the entire estate will be based on the Distribution Act, 1958 (amended in 1997) i.e., ¼ to his parents (if they are still alive), ¼ to wife and ½ to children equally. If the deceased’s parents do not survive him, then the estate is distributed to wife (who will receive (⅓) and the children (⅔).

If the deceased has a will, then he would be able to appoint the executors of his choice. Secondly, he could choose the guardian for his children who are under 18 years old should the wife pass away. With regards to the distribution of his estate, he can give to his beneficiaries according to his wishes. Since he has children who are under 18 years old and could not receive his estate, then he can set up a testamentary trust in his will so that he provides a certain amount for their monthly expenses.

In addition to a will, he can also set up a Trust for his children’s living, medical and education expenses. To create the Trust, he can assign life insurance policies to the Trust. Upon his demise, the money from the life insurance will be paid immediately to the Trustee Company like Rockwills Trustee Bhd, who will in turn distribute the moneys periodically to the respective beneficiaries according to his wishes written in a Trust Deed. This method of immediate funding is important and crucial especially when he has a daughter who is studying overseas. The reason for choosing Rockwills Trustee Bhd. is because it has the expertise, impartiality, professionalism and most importantly perpetual existence. So I urge you not to delay anymore and immediately take steps to provide security for your family by doing a will and trust for them.

Peter Lee is an Associate Estate Planning Practitioner (Wills & Trust) with Rockwills International Group. He is also an Islamic Estate Planner providing Wills & Trust services for Muslims. He is based in Ipoh and can be reached at: 012-5078825/05-2554853 or [email protected]