After one week of contacting all his family members, John Lee managed to arrange for a meeting between his family members and his lawyer, Dave, on Thursday morning in John’s office. As Dave walked into the office conference room, John and his family members were already there waiting. Dave apologised to all as he was ten minutes late. John then continued by introducing his family members starting with his mother, Mrs Patricia Lee who is seventy five years old, his second and third brother named Nick Lee and Steven Lee aged 48 and 45 respectively, sisters Michele Lee, Nancy Lee and Sandy Lee who are aged 40, 39 and 37 respectively.
After the introduction, John asked Dave to explain. “Thanks John” said Dave. Then Dave told the family members that since Mr Lee senior died without a will, an application for the Letter of Administration (LA) is essential for the family to unlock his estate which is now frozen. Dave further explained that “to apply for this document, all the beneficiaries would first have to appoint an administrator or administrators.” “Who is the administrator and what does he or she do?” asked Nick Lee. Dave replied, “Anyone of you present can be the administrator if you get the consent from all the beneficiaries of the estate and the court approves it. So in your father’s case, the beneficiaries would be his wife, Mrs Patricia Lee and all his children which means all of you who are present in this room.” For a few seconds, everyone was looking at each other wondering who it shall be.
Then Dave said, “the responsibility of an administrator is to make a list of all of the assets of the estate and attach it to the rest of the legal documents for submission to the High Court and once the LA has been issued by the High Court, the Administrator can then collect all the assets in the estate. Thereafter, he or she has to ensure that all the liabilities in the estate must be settled before distribution to the beneficiaries. Now, according to the Malaysian Distribution Act, 1959, Mrs Patricia Lee will be entitled to one third of the estate while six of you will share equally the remaining two thirds of the estate.”
Dave also highlighted to all that after appointing the administrators they would also have to appoint two guarantors (who are sureties to provide an administration bond) for the estate so that if the administrators abscond with the estate money, the two guarantors will have to pay the beneficiaries. So, the guarantors must provide a guarantee of the gross estate value of the deceased’s estate. “What if we can’t find the guarantors because we ourselves may not qualify to that value” asked Sandy Lee. “I have to check on whether there is any exemption on this,” replied Dave.
He continued by asking the family members to choose an administrator first. Nick Lee volunteered to be the administrator while John said it’s better for him to take up this role because he is the eldest and has been helping his father manage his property company during his lifetime. Then, Sandy Lee said, “that is a separate matter. Why not we take a vote on this and decide on the appointment by a vote of majority.” Michele and Nancy proposed John to be the administrator while Sandy preferred Nick. Steven was undecided and looking for his mother’s decision. At this point Dave interrupted and said, “the decision must be unanimous before it goes to the courts.” Then Mrs Patricia Lee said, “for heaven’s sake can you all stop arguing.” She then turned to Dave and said, “I think I have to speak to them privately. Can we come back to you later?” “Sure” replied Dave and then left the room accompanied by John.
To be continued…
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. His Book “To Delay is Human but to Will is Divine” (96 pages, RM28, Hard copy) is available at Rashi Mini Market (019-510 6284), No. 37, Jalan Perajurit, Ipoh Garden East or at Ipoh Echo. Chinese and English version of his book is also available at his office: No. 108 (2nd Floor), Jalan Raja Ekram, 30450 Ipoh, Perak. He can be reached at:
- 012 507 8825 or 05 255 4853
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Website: http://www.peterleewills.com/
- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/peterleeconsultancy/