After explaining to the Lee family about the gathering of movable assets such as money in bank accounts, Unit Trusts or Mutual Funds, public listed shares of companies in local and overseas bourses, Dave moved on to talk about immovable assets such as all properties. He asked for everyone’s co-operation to list down the number of properties such as houses, shop lots, condominiums, apartments, vacant land, etc., which are either in Lee Sr’s sole name or joint name with different family members. He further said, “It is also important to disclose these properties which are either located locally or overseas if there are any because every family member will be entitled to them under the Malaysian Distribution Act. At this point, Mrs Patricia Lee (1st Wife) asked, “Does that mean my husband’s 50% share in properties, which are jointly owned with me, must be distributed to the other family members?” “Yes” was Dave’s reply. Then Mrs Patricia Lee retorted “over my dead body will I allow that!” Dave further explained “OK , another way to receive your husband’s 50% share in these properties would depend on the consent of the rest of the beneficiaries entitled to the estate.”
Mrs Patricia Lee then looks at the rest of the family members in particular Connie (2nd Wife) and asked, “Do you all have any problem with the consent?” There was a sudden silence in the room. Some were looking at each other and then Connie said, “Let’s see how many properties are involved and then we can discuss.” “I would have guessed this response would come from you and for your information, I intend to have my husband’s other 50% at all costs.” Connie turned to Dave and said, “Don’t you think we all have to follow the law in this matter?” Patricia Lee quickly retorted, “Wow! Did I hear another lawyer speaking?” Dave intervened and said, “Let’s cool down and instead concentrate on listing down these, I would like to move on to the shares owned by Lee Sr. in all the Private Limited Companies. Please let me have the list of shares. I assume most of them are family owned.” “John replied “Yes, all these companies are family owned. Is there any clash with the Distribution Act if all these Companies’ Memorandums and Articles of Association (M & A) state that any transfer of shares must first be offered to the existing shareholders and the Board of Directors can refuse any transfer to a third party without giving reason?” “Generally, the Distribution Act will prevail but I think it’s better you show me all your companies’ M & A later.” Dave replied. John went on, “What about those partnerships he has a stake in?” “Yes, do let me know also if he has any,” replied Dave and further explained, “According to the Partnership Act, a partnership will be dissolved when one of the partners dies. However, the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) does allow the partnership to appoint new partners to replace the deceased partner so that it can continue their existence in business.” Dave then said, “Before I end this meeting, please also let me know if there are any other assets that I have not highlighted which may be frozen. At the moment, I can think of items like cars, Safe Deposit Boxes and maybe club memberships.”
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. He is based in Ipoh and can be reached at: 012‑5078825/ 05‑2554853 or [email protected].com. Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my.