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In The Name of My Father’s Estate (Episode 13)

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Rockwills - wills and trusts - ipoh estate planningAfter both sides of the family (family from the 1st and 2nd wives of Lee Sr) had discussed with their respective lawyers on gathering and revealing Lee Sr’s frozen estate for the purpose of the application for Letter of Administration (L.A.), the administrators, namely, John, Michele (children of Lee Sr) and Connie (2nd wife of Lee Sr) then met up in Dave’s office. Dave said: “Before I begin taking down the list of Lee Sr’s assets, I would like to ask all of you whether there are any changes to the appointment of three of you as joint administrators for the estate. If the status remains the same, then I will include your names in the affidavit and arrange for the rest of the family members who are beneficiaries to sign on a letter consenting to the appointment of three of you as Administrators and at the same time renouncing their rights to be the Administrators.” Everyone in the room nodded giving the green light to Dave to proceed. Dave then said “Ok. I take it as confirmed and let’s move on to the list of assets starting from the money in the bank accounts. With regard to this, I would like to have the name of the bank, branch and bank account number either in the name of Lee Sr solely or jointly with other family members.

John then replied: “According to our records on the sole-name bank accounts, father has two in Malaysia with a combined amount of RM5 million, one in Singapore having S$2 million, one in Australia with a sum of A$6 million and one in U.K. with a balance of £2 million.” The name of the bank in Malaysia is Pan Bank, Jalan Tun , K.L. The bank in Singapore is called ZNA Bank, Alex Road, Singapore. As for the Australia Bank, it’s called Aussie Bank, Fin Street, Adelaide. The bank account in U.K. is in RCC Bank, London Street, London. Dave then turned to Connie asking “Connie, could you give me your side of your records in relation to the sole-name bank accounts of Lee Sr?” Connie replied, “As far as I know, there are only two bank accounts in CDS Bank, Jalan Raya, K.L. under his sole name which cannot be withdrawn. One is a savings account with RM2 million and the other is a current account with an amount of RM100,000. He had mentioned to me that these savings are meant for my three children’s education.” In response Dave said, “Connie, this will be subject to the Distribution Act unless the rest of the beneficiaries renounced their rights to this entitlement.” Her reaction to this response was an expression of discontent in her face. She then turned to John and Michele and asked, “What do you think about this?” Michele then responded, “Well! I can speak to my side of the family about the renunciation. Now, if they agree, can you then renounce your rights to your entitlement on my father’s bank accounts either local or overseas which John just disclosed?” Connie was stunned for a moment and suddenly realised how stupid she was to ask this question when she had more to gain from the Distribution Act.

Peter Lee

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 can be reached at: 012‑5078825/ 05‑2554853 or excelsecms@gmail.com. Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my.

His Book “To Delay is Human but to Will is Divine” (96 pages, RM28) is available at his office: 108 (2nd Floor), Jalan Raja Ekram, 30450 Ipoh; Rashi Mini Market (019-510 6284), 37 Jalan Perajurit, Ipoh Garden East; Ipoh Echo and at all major bookstores in March 2013.

To Delay is Human but to Will is Divine

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To Delay is Human but to Will is DivineMore people are beginning to realise that human life is indeed fleetingly short. However, for most, this realisation seems to stop short at just this point, and does not extend very much further beyond this. We understand that when we leave this life we leave the world we knew and all its attachments. What we do not seem to grasp or perhaps we do, but do not really see the urgency to act on, is the importance of ensuring the loved ones we leave behind, will be able to physically go on with some semblance of financial comfort.

We often hear of friends and family who pass on suddenly and this is tragic as in almost all cases, there is no will, thus making things very difficult for the loved ones left behind, who not only have to deal with the painful loss but also now have to be burdened with a financial disaster too. If the deceased is the main income or even the sole breadwinner, things can get to a point where the loved ones left behind wish they were given the relief of death too, as living in the nightmare of trying to survive without the deceased financial contribution would be impossible. Then there is the scenario where the deceased leaves behind substantial wealth, which then becomes the doom of all, fighting for it.

Peter Lee’s book To Delay is Human but to Will is Divine is a revelation to the very real pain and suffering loved ones endure when there is no will in place. The implications for all members of the family having to deal with someone dying intestate, dealing with lawyers and all the nitty gritty details of sorting out the remains of the estate and when particularly large, is a nightmare.

The simple style chosen helps the reader truly understand the implications and importance of ensuring there is a will in place. The cartoon characters lend some humor to an otherwise deadly serious topic. The urgency to have a will drawn up will be an action the reader is likely to want to jump into even before finishing the book.

This would make an ideal gift for anyone and everyone, if we could just understand and look upon it as a loving gesture and not the taboo that anything involving death conjures up in our imagination.

To Delay is Human but to Will is Divine (96 pages, RM28) is available from Peter Lee (012-507 8825/05-255 4853) at 108 (2nd Floor), Jalan Raja Ekram, 30450 Ipoh, email: excelsecms@gmail.com; Rashi Mini Market (019-510 6284), 37 Jalan Perajurit, Ipoh Garden East, 31400 Ipoh and Ipoh Echo. It will also be available at all major bookstores in March 2013.

Serena Mui

In The Name of My Father’s Estate (Episode 12)

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Rockwills - wills and trusts - ipoh estate planningby Peter Lee

While the first family of Lee Sr was gathering the details and documents of Lee Sr’s estate as well as contemplating whether to reveal some of the information to Connie (Lee Sr’s 2nd wife) and Dave (family lawyer) for estate administration, Connie was meeting up with her own lawyer, May, whom she had just engaged to advise her on the frozen assets of Lee Sr which are jointly owned by Lee Sr together with her and her three minor children. Connie said “May, I need some advice from you on my husband’s estate in terms of revealing some information to two of my Co-Administrators who are the eldest children of his first family. “That means your step children?” asked May. “Well! You can put it that way” replied Connie. May then said, “Before you continue, I have to tell you first that legally you have to reveal all assets of your husband’s either in sole name or joint name with you and your children, to the Administrators.”

Connie continued by saying that she has some bank accounts under the sole name of Lee Sr, some in joint name with her and her three minor children. May then asked, “How many accounts are there?” Connie replied, “Ok, there are two bank accounts under his sole name of which one is a savings account and the other one a current account.” “What about the joint bank accounts?” asked May. Connie said, “I have three joint bank accounts with my husband of which one account in Quikcash Bank has been fully withdrawn by me. I could not withdraw from the other joint account in CDS Bank because somehow the bank knew about the death of my husband and froze it. I have yet to check on the remaining joint account with Bagus Bank.” “By the way, did you check whether there is a mandate given to you to sign for the current account?” asked May. Connie asked, “what do you mean?” In reply May said, “It means that if a mandate is given to you, then you can sign to withdraw the money from this account in the absence of your husband but if the bank knows that he is dead then this current account will be frozen.” Connie’s response was “I didn’t know that and I think this kind of arrangement was never done by my husband.”

“The other thing is that each of my three children, that is, Steve, Jimmy and Jennifer who are 10, 12 and 15 years old respectively each have a joint bank account with their father and they cannot withdraw their money due to their ages.”

“The rest of my husband’s assets, like investments in mutual funds, shares in the Share Market locally and overseas cannot be touched because they are all under his name. As for properties, I have two houses jointly with him. One of the houses is mortgaged to CDS Bank for an Overdraft facility.” May then said, “under your circumstances you have no choice but to reveal all this information for the application of your husband’s Letter of Administration (L.A.) to unlock all the assets..” “Then what about the money I have taken from the joint name account,” asked Connie. “That too, legally speaking,” was May’s response. Connie was rather uneasy about this because it involves a substantial amount.

To be continued…

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! – from Peter Lee

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 excelsecms@gmail.com. Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my.

In The Name Of My Father’s Estate (Episode 11)

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Rockwills - wills and trusts - ipoh estate planningBy Peter Lee

In the family meeting, when John (eldest son of Lee Sr) informed his mother, Mrs Patricia Lee (1st wife of Lee Sr) and five of his siblings that Connie (2nd wife of Lee Sr) and her three minor children are entitled to part of Lee Sr’s 70% share in all his three companies according to the Distribution Act, it caused some anxiety among the family members especially the children of Lee Sr because they are involved in the business and the thought of their unknown stepmother and step siblings being the shareholders of these companies by virtue of inheritance really irks them. Nick Lee (2nd son of Lee Sr) asked, “So! How are we going to prevent this from happening?” John replied, “I don’t think we can stop this distribution.” “Why not?” asked Nancy Lee (2nd daughter of Lee Sr). She continued by saying, “After all, we are the directors of these companies and if we don’t approve any transfer of shares through a company’s resolution, then no transfers can be done in accordance to the company’s Memorandum of Articles and Association.”

John then said, “Look, even though directors of these companies have the right not to sign resolutions to approve this transfer, we are just buying time which can lead us to a costly legal battle later on. The other thing I am more concerned about is when the shares are transferred to the Administrators, who shall be the Administrator receiving the shares first, before distributing to the beneficiaries?” “But I thought three of you, that is, John, Michele (eldest daughter of Lee Sr) and Connie are going to receive the shares first as the Administrators?” asked Sandy Lee (3rd daughter of Lee Sr). “Yes, three of us are joint Administrators but shares can be transferred to only one person,” replied John. Then Sandy asked again, “then does it mean that those listed shares in the stock exchange work in the same manner?” “Yes” was John’s reply. Mrs Patricia Lee said “Goodness me! So who will be the one among the three Administrators who is going to receive the shares first?” John replied, “Mum, I think three of the Administrators would have to negotiate on this to choose one as the representative of the three”. Mrs Patricia Lee probed further, “What if you three cannot agree on the choice of representative?” “Then father’s shares will be frozen,” replied John.

At that moment, everyone shook their heads in disbelief and wondered when can the administration of their father’s estate commence. Michelle then said, “I think we need Dave’s (lawyer) advice on this when we meet up with him. Furthermore, we also need to know what Connie has with Father before we can decide on how to deal with these shares because I have a feeling Father may have shares in other companies with Connie which we are unaware of.” John then asked everyone, “is there anything else for me to know?” Mrs Patricia Lee said, “What about the Insurance and Employees Provident Fund (EPF)?” John replied, “I have to check on Father’s nomination and the money from that will be released to the nominees once the death certificate is presented. However, if there is no nomination made, then the monies will be distributed according to the Distribution Act”.

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 excelsecms@gmail.com. Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my.

In The Name of My Father’s Estate (Episode 10)

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Rockwills - wills and trusts - ipoh estate planningby Peter Lee

After John and Michelle confirmed the status of the Lee Sr’s bank accounts with their mum and the rest of the family members, they moved on to talk about their father’s investments which were frozen. John proceeded by asking “Mum, can you tell me the status of father’s investments in unit trusts or mutual funds and shares in the local and overseas share markets?” Mrs Patricia Lee replied “I have three joint unit trust accounts with your father. I have not sold off any of these investments and I am not sure whether it can be automatically transferred to me now. Some of my friends told me that these investments are supposed to be mine once the joint owner dies.” In response, John said “I am not sure about this mum because as explained by Dave (Lawyer) in our earlier meetings, all jointly owned assets in the estate don’t automatically get passed to the surviving joint owner but instead are subject to the Distribution Act.” “Mrs Patricia Lee looked annoyed and said “Here we go again on that ridiculous Distribution Act”. She then handed some statements on the unit trust investments jointly owned with her husband to John, and said “that’s all I have.”

Then John turned to the other family members and asked “Do the rest of you have any of these types of investments under joint ownership with father?” “Michelle, Nick, Steven, Sandy and Nancy raised their hands and said “Yes, we have some.” John also informed them that he also had some joint unit trust accounts with father. He further asked everyone to hand over their investment statements. Michelle then asked “Mum, do you have any of dad’s investment statements in the local and overseas share markets?” Mrs Patricia Lee replied “I found some of the local share investment statements and some shares are in Singapore and UK.” Michele further told everyone to hand over father’s investment statements in shares if they had any.

Then the family started to discuss the properties owned by Lee Sr. Mrs Patricia Lee said “three properties, including this bungalow that I am staying in, are jointly owned with your father while there are another three properties which I know are solely owned by him.” I wonder how many more he owns with Connie (2nd wife)?” John then asked “Mum, do you have the titles?” Mrs Patricia Lee replied “I have only three which are jointly owned with him but the other three were mortgaged with the bank some years ago for his personal borrowings. I won’t know how much he is owing the bank right now. So you have to check with the banks on the outstanding amounts.” John said “Ok! I will check on it. So, what about the rest of you who have titles which are jointly owned with dad?” Steven then said “Yes, I have one jointly owned property with dad but it’s not mortgaged to the bank.” This caused some surprise looks on some of his siblings’ faces. John then said “Steven, hand me the title as soon as you can. Now let’s move on to the shareholdings of father in our own three private limited companies. As you know, Dad owns 70 per cent shares in all of these companies and all of us know it’s worth millions. The sticky part is Connie and her three children will be our fellow shareholders in these companies through the Distribution Act”.

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 excelsecms@gmail.com.
Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my.

 

In The Name of My Father’s Estate (Episode 9)

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Rockwills - wills and trusts - ipoh estate planningby Peter Lee

Since Dave (Lawyer) requested in the previous meeting that the Administrators of Lee Sr’s (Deceased) estate list down all assets that belonged to Lee Sr, John and Michele being two of the three Administrators [the other one being Connie (2nd wife)] met up with their mum, Mrs Patricia Lee (1st Wife) and siblings (Nick, Steven, Sandy and Nancy) one week later. In the meeting, John said” I think all of you understood what Dave needs for the application for Letter of Administration (L.A). So mum, could you give me the name of the bank, branch and account number under father’s sole name and those that are joint with you. Oh! I need the amount too. This applies to all of you if you have joint accounts with dad which are frozen.” Mrs Patricia Lee’s response was “I think I won’t want to reveal all the joint bank accounts.” Then John said “But this is what I need to give Dave (Lawyer) for the application of L.A. If you don’t co-operate, then how are we going to begin this application.” Mrs Patricia Lee then shouted “Son, don’t you ever use the word co-operate. I am your mother and you better listen to me. Now, I will tell you what I am going to reveal.”

“The first thing is, your father as far as I know, has six bank accounts under his sole name. Two are in Malaysia with a combined amount of RM5 million, one in Singapore having S$2 million, one in Australia with a sum of A$6 million and one in U.K. with a balance of £2 million. I have four bank accounts joint with him. Three of the accounts are here in Malaysia while the other one is in Singapore. Each of the accounts in Malaysia has roughly RM2 Million and the one in Singapore has S$3 Million. As far as the joint accounts are concerned I have withdrawn most of the money from those accounts in Malaysia because either one of us can sign. The money in the rest of the accounts is still there as I could not withdraw from them.”

At this moment, the expression in all her children’s faces were like saying “Oh Oh, I need to treat mum nicely from now on.” Then Michele said “So, are you going to reveal the money withdrawn from the joint accounts to Dave because I think  he would want us to be honest with him so that he can proceed the L.A. application smoothly”. “In life it’s good to be honest but at times you don’t have to be dead honest” was Mrs. Patricia Lee’s response. She continued “After all what makes you think Connie won’t do it too.” Michele then replied “In that case we have to ask Dave about this because  you do realise,  that ultimately three of us, that is me, John and Connie have to meet Dave to inform him of all the assets in father’s estate and if both sides are not going to reveal everything then I wonder whether its going to defeat the purpose of fair distribution?” Mrs Patricia Lee retorted “Ask Dave why don’t we leave aside all those joint bank accounts that are withdrawn and concentrate on those that are frozen.” John then asked “Ok! do the rest of you have any joint bank accounts with dad?” All shook their heads and said “No”.

 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 excelsecms@gmail.com. Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my.

In The Name of My Father’s Estate (Episode 8)

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Rockwills - wills and trusts - ipoh estate planningBy Peter Lee

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 excelsecms@gmail.com. Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my.

In The Name of My Father’s Estate (Episode 6)

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Rockwills - wills and trusts - ipoh estate planningBy Peter Lee

After the meeting with Connie, Dave phoned John and said, “I have met up with Connie and she wants to be one of the Administrators in your father’s estate. John’s response was “I think my family is not going to be happy with this!” Dave then said, “I understand your family’s position but based on the fact that she and her children are entitled to a portion of your father’s estate, I think your family would have to consent to her appointment. Otherwise, she would most likely disagree with the appointment of you and your sister, Michelle to be the administrators.” John then asked, “do we have another choice or can we maybe offer her something attractive so that she will back off?” Dave replied, “John, by the looks of it, she is eager to claim her own family’s entitlement to your father’s entire estate in which the assets and value needs to be ascertained with the co-operation of all family members. So, I suggest that you have a word with your family because the appointment of Administrator is crucial to kick start the application for Letter of Administration (L.A.). Futhermore, I need to highlight that once this is done, your family and your father’s second family would have to list down all of his assets and their value which must be attached to the application for L.A. This can be a tedious process.” “Okay! I will speak to my family,” said John.

After two days, John contacted Dave and said “Whew ! It was not easy  explaining to my mum and siblings for the last two days but I think we have no choice but to consent to the appointment of Connie as the joint Administrator. The other thing is, my family would like to have a meeting with Connie and her children.” Dave replied “This is what I am going to suggest next because I have to brief everyone before I start applying for the L.A.” After a week, the meeting of all family members with Dave took place in Dave’s office. When John, his mum and siblings stepped into the meeting room, Connie and her three children were already waiting with Dave. Dave stood up and said, “come, everyone please sit down.” When everyone sat down  both sides of the family looked at each other in silence, unsure whether to greet one another. Dave stepped in and introduced both sides of the family to each other. Thereafter, he said “now I have more or less explained briefly to all the procedure for applying for the L.A. in our previous meeting. So, the first thing I need is the consensus of everyone here that the Administrators of Lee senior’s estate will be John, Michelle and Connie before I start my paper work.” After a few minutes of silence everyone agreed to it. Then, Mrs Patricia Lee asked, “Dave, since I am one of the Guarantors of my husband’s estate, then who will be the other Guarantor?”  Dave replied “Connie informed  me just now that she will be the other Guarantor. Is that okay with you?” “Well, if it’s acceptable by the courts then I rest my case,” replied Patricia while glaring at Connie.

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 excelsec@streamyx.com. Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my.

In The Name of My Father’s Estate (Episode 5)

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By Peter Lee

Dave met up with Connie in his office the next day. She was accompanied by another lady. The first thing that crossed Dave’s mind when he saw Connie was, “Lee senior really had good taste”. Connie introduced herself and her friend Liza to Dave. Then Connie said to  Dave, “I think my husband’s will states very clearly that he intended to give his entire estate to me and my three children. Since I am the Executor I wish to execute it as soon as possible. Do you have a problem with that?” “Yes” was Dave’s immediate response. He then proceeded to tell Connie, “Do you know that your husband’s will is invalid because it has only one witness?” Her response was, “I was told by my friend here that this will is valid.” Dave then turned to Liza and showed her section 5(2) of the Wills Act, 1959, which states that two witnesses are required for the will to be valid. There was a minute’s silence as Liza read the section. Then, Liza looked at Connie and said, “I think the will is invalid according to this section.” Connie immediately responded, “What? I was told earlier that my husband’s will is fine and now it’s not. Are you reading it correctly, Liza?” Liza nodded. Connie at this point was looking anxious and said, “my husband’s name and my name are on the birth certificates of my children. That means we are still entitled to his estate. Is that correct, Liza?” Liza looked puzzled and Dave intervened by saying, “yes, but since your customary marriage took place before March, 1982, there is an issue.”

Dave further told Connie, “Look, I am not going to beat around the bush with you. The reason I called to meet you is to inform you first, that your husband’s will is invalid. Secondly, since he does not have any will, his estate will be distributed according to the Distribution Act, 1958 that was amended in 1997. So, you have to share your one-third entitlement with your husband’s first wife and your three children will have to share their two-thirds entitlement with five children from his first customary marriage that took place before March, 1982. Your husband’s estate is now frozen and to unlock it, we have to quickly apply for a Letter of Administration (LA). The first family have already appointed two of the children to be joint Administrators and this also requires your consent.” “What do they do?” asked Connie. “Well, they have to collect assets, settle debts and then distribute the estate to the rightful beneficiaries.” “Does that mean that the entire estate will flow into the two Administrators’ hands before distribution?” “Yes” replied Dave. Then Connie said, “I want to be one of the Administrators.” Dave’s response was “I have to speak to them on this but are you willing be one of the Guarantors or get someone else to be Guarantor of the estate if they agree to your appointment?” “Why is it necessary?” asked Connie. Dave replied, “It’s because if the Administrators run away with the estate’s money, then the Guarantors will have to compensate the beneficiaries.” “Okay, what about the other side?” “The first wife and eldest son agree to be Guarantors,” replied Dave. “In that case, I am okay with the appointment if they are okay with my request,” said Connie.

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: 2nd Floor, 108 Jalan Raja Ekram (Cowan St.), 30450 Ipoh. Tel.: 012‑5078825/ 05‑2554853 or excelsec@streamyx.com. Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my. (Peter Lee’s column appears monthly.)

In The Name of My Father’s Estate (Episode 4)

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By Peter Lee

John said to his family in the meeting “I think we can only decide how best to deal with father’s estate once I receive news from Dave, our lawyer, regarding Connie’s claim on his estate.” Before the meeting ended Mrs Patricia Lee said to John in anger “Find out for me who this woman is and her claim as soon as possible. I wonder whether this is your father’s reward to me after all these years of marriage and loyalty.” She further asked her children “so are you guys still going to fight over the appointment of Administrators?” Sandy then asked “Mum, what do you have in mind?” Patricia replied, “I suggest that John and Michele be appointed as joint administrators of the estate, and since Dave mentioned we need Guarantors, then John and I will be the Guarantors. Are you people okay with my suggestion?  If you people are agreeable, then we still have to hear from Dave whether your father’s so called second wife and her children are also the beneficiaries of the estate. If it is, god knows what will happen next!” Nick and Sandy were uncomfortable with the suggestion of the appointment of Administrators but finally agreed with the rest out of respect for their mum.

After the meeting, John quickly phoned Dave and said “Hi Dave, I just finished my meeting with my family. Mum is really upset now. Can you please check on Connie’s claim as soon as possible?”

When they met in Dave’s office, Dave said to John “I have checked Connie’s documents. The will is invalid due to only one witness signing. The requirement of two witnesses to sign is clearly defined in Section 5 (2) of the Wills Act, 1959. However, I have yet to verify whether the marriage between your father and Connie was in 1980 because any marriage before March 1982, whether registered or customary, is considered legal. This is stated in Section 4 of the Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act, 1976. Your father’s name on the birth certificates specifying him as the father of the three sons is genuine. The ages of these children are 10, 12 and 15.” “So does it mean that if it is proven that their marriage was before March 1982, then Connie and her three children stand to inherit my father’s fortune?” asked John. Dave replied “yes” and further said “since your father’s parents have passed away then your mother and Connie will share the one-third entitlement of your father’s estate while two-thirds will be shared by you, your five siblings, and your three step siblings who are still minors. This distribution is stated in Section 6(1) of the Malaysian Distribution (Amendment) Act, 1997. Another thing is the appointment of administrators for your father’s estate would also require the consent of Connie and her three children. This is stated in Section 30 of the Probate & Administration Act, 1959 with the approval of the court.  “Oh my God, what has Father got us into” said John. “So, what shall we do now?” John asked Dave. Dave said “since I have her contact number on her letter, why not let me make an appointment to meet up with Connie on your behalf and find out more on her status before we decide on the next course of action.” John agreed and asked Dave to proceed with it.

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: 2nd Floor, 108 Jalan Raja Ekram (Cowan St.), 30450 Ipoh. Tel.: 012‑5078825/ 05‑2554853 or excelsec@streamyx.com. Website: http://www.wills-trust.com.my. (Peter Lee’s column appears monthly.)