David, a Malaysian businessman, is married with 3 children aged 10, 12 and 15. His wife, Catherine, who is also a Malaysian, has been residing in Australia for the past six years with their children because of the children’s education. Both of them are in their mid-forties and holding Australian permanent resident status. David has businesses in Malaysia and Australia. Therefore, he travels back and forth between Malaysia and Australia frequently. His busy life, in travelling and running his business, has put a strain on his marriage. To make things worse, he is involved with another woman in Malaysia whom he refers to as his living companion. Recently, Catherine applied and obtained Australian citizenship for herself and her three children, which means that they had to surrender their Malaysian citizenship. David, on the other hand, decided to keep his Malaysian citizenship for the time being. Knowing that his problem is like the song, “…sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along”, he has to plan for his estate distribution just in case he dies. He intends to allocate some of his estate in Malaysia to his living companion and the balance of the bulk will go to his wife and children.
He realised that the only way to do it is through a will. However, his first problem will be the choice of Executors/Trustee because choosing his wife or living companion will not be ideal based on the fact that his wife is now a foreign citizen and his living companion may not be fair in the distribution. Therefore, it would be best that he chooses a Trustee Company like Rockwills Trustee Bhd. to be Executor/Trustee of his estate. It is also important for him to choose one or more guardians for his children if he and his wife die. In his situation, it is important for him to specify the distribution of his movable and immovable assets to his family in Australia to enable his wife and children to inherit the assets in Malaysia easily.
It would also be practical for him to instruct his Executor/Trustee to liquidate some of his assets such as properties, unit trust, shares, and transmit the money to his family in Australia especially for his children’s education. Since he wants to allocate some money for his living companion, he can decide on the percentage and take the money from one of his bank accounts. In view of his children’s ages, it is important that he sets up a “Testamentary Trust” in his will so that he could state the allocated amount for their living, education and medical expenses. The duration of this trust must also be mentioned. For example, the trust ends when the youngest child reaches the age of 21. Since applying for the Grant of Probate for his will to unlock his estate may require some time, it is extremely important for him to set up a “Living Trust” during his lifetime choosing Rockwills Trustee Bhd. as the Trustee to ensure that immediate funding is available for his family if he dies and such funding could also cover the cost of the probate application.
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@example.com. Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my.