In The Name Of My Father’s Estate (Episode 18)

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Rockwills - wills and trusts - ipoh estate planningBy Peter Lee

As Dave (Lawyer) had completed the discussion on gathering of Lee Sr’s estate with the Administrators namely, John, Michele (children of the first family) and Connie (2nd wife of Lee Sr), he told the Administrators to inform all the beneficiaries to be ready in a week’s time to sign all documents with regard to the filing of the Letter of Administration (L.A.). He further said “We will start this application in Malaysia first. As for overseas assets, it is best to apply separate L.A.s in those countries. So, please confirm with me in the next meeting whether all three of you will be willing to travel to these countries to get the job done. Otherwise, we will most likely have to appoint legal firms or trustee companies in these countries to act as the administrators on your behalf which requires the consent of all the beneficiaries.”

Michele asked, “Dave, could you refresh our memories on the documents which all the beneficiaries have to sign?” Dave replied, “It would be the consent letter to the appointment of the Administrators to be signed by all beneficiaries. Then, those beneficiaries who are not appointed as Administrators must sign the renunciation letter giving up their rights to this appointment. Subsequently, an affidavit must be signed by all the Administrators.” Connie then asked, “Can all my three minor children sign these documents?” In reply Dave said, “Only parents or guardians can sign for their minor children. As such, you will have to sign on their behalf.” Dave then added, “Please also bring along the death certificate of Lee Sr and his parents as well.” All the Administrators looked surprised and John said, “Dave, to give you the death certificate of my father is not a problem but it would be a problem producing my grandparents’ death certificates as they died so long ago. By the way, I can’t understand why the application for L.A. requires my grandparents’ death certificates since the distribution of my father’s estate is split into one third (⅓) for his spouse and two thirds (⅔) for the children according to the Distribution Act.”

In response, Dave said, “John, you are right on this but according to the Distribution Act, if your grandparents were still alive then they would be entitled to one quarter (¼) of your father’s estate whereas the other quarter (¼) will go to your father’s spouses and half (½) to his children. Therefore, in order to eliminate that one quarter (¼) entitlement to your grandparents because they are no longer around, you have to prove by way of their death certificates. I suggest that you can try extracting a copy from the national registration department or give me the authority as your lawyer to do so.” John then said to Dave, “I think it’s best you do the extraction to save us all the hassle. Then he turned to Michele and Connie asking them for their opinion in which both the ladies also consented to by nodding. John further probed “What is the next option if we still can’t produce the death certificates of my grandparents?” Dave replied “Well, we will then have to see whether the High Court allows our application for L.A. without your grandparents’ death certificates. I presumed we must at that point of time prove to them that we have exhausted all our avenues in search of these death certificates. Otherwise, the last resort would be applying for a presumption of death certificate from the High Court.

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: