To Will or not To Will?
By Muhammad Ali
Generally, when I ask my Dinarians what's the first thing you want to do after RV? Settling my debts seem to be the top answer, of course after giving thanks to the Almighty.
I had the occasional, take a long overdue holiday and get into some banking investments, but I've never had anyone tell me, I need to update my Will or get my Will done first.
It seems to me that the focus on Wills is secondary to many other things.
A few months back I met with a legal consultant on Wills, he’s been doing Will preparations here in Malaysia for the past 16 years, and he opened my eyes to a lot of very important things.
One of the key things that he told me was that there is currency over RM80 Billion (Ringgit Malaysia) in assets and funds being held by the various States due to improper Wills or no Wills at all.
That is a lot of wealth being locked up, can you just imagine for minute, if that money was in the hands of the people. To put this in another perspective, that amount is equivalent to every person in Malaysia having RM2 Billion in their bank account. And it's a real shame and all due to improper planning, and some of these complications go far back to grandfathers and great grandfather’s estates. So it trickles down to Uncles and Aunts and cousins and siblings, over generations so you can see how it becomes complex.
So, I will do a little twist here and my article will not be about how to write a Will, but what happens to your family when you do not have a Will.
If you don’t have a Will when you die, your money, property and possessions will be shared out according to the law instead of your wishes. This can mean they pass to someone you hadn’t intended or that someone you want to pass things on to ends up with nothing.
Dying without a valid Will is called intestacy or dying intestate.
Some people may think, alright, after RV, once I exchange my currencies and then buy the new land and build the new home and get everything in place, only then do I need to create my Last Will and Testament. What if you had exchanged your currencies, bought the land and before the house was even being started to build, you passed away.
Your Will, definitely will require ongoing maintaining and changes as per your asset accumulation, so please do not think it's a one-time thing. Even if you have new children or grandchildren you'll need to update your Will. As a matter of fact, you should have a Will now that includes your currencies and who will be the beneficiaries of it, in the case of your early demise.
In recent years there has been a major change to inheritance tax laws and for many people that has necessitated a change to their Will, even though their ultimate wishes remain the same. So this is something that you'll need to look into with your lawyer.
Depending on the amount of currency you hold and how much you will have after the RV, you may be updating your will once a year or every 2 to 5 years. It will all depend upon what has changed around you. Whether your family has changed, with either new additions or losses, and if your assets has changed, or if you added new assets or sold off some assets.
Now aside from the legal disbursement aspect, let's look at the psychological factors that will happen if you did no leave a Will behind. Children, spouses and ex-spouses, and siblings will fight. And fight. And fight. Death does not always bring out the best in people. Interestingly, the prospect of pending death is often seen as an occasion to mend fences. But once the death actually occurs, all bets are off and the gloves come on.
This is more likely to happen in families where the heirs have different socio-economic statuses. The son who can’t hold a job wants to know why his rich older brother needs yet more money. The rich older brother thinks he should be put in charge of managing the unemployed brother’s share of the estate. And so on. But the decision shouldn’t be theirs; it’s yours.
And don't forget about your pets, they may not get the care they deserve or you intended for them. You cannot leave money or property to your dog or any other pet. You can, however, establish a trust for them and fund it. It requires that you find someone who agrees to provide the care you want for your furry companion. Shelters are filled with pets whose owners died leaving them with no place pre-arranged to live.
While we’re at it, if you have minors in your care, you need a Will to establish their custody.
Also equally important, don't forget with your life insurance policies to make sure the beneficiaries are properly updated. Let's say you have setup a policy years ago when you were married to your first spouse and then some time later you got divorced and then re-married, but your policy beneficiary is still in the name of your Ex. So imagine the joy on your current spouse's face when he/she finds out at that money to help him/her cover the funeral expenses and survive for the future is going to your Ex.
Another problem that may arise is you left a Simple Will; however, with the value of Net Worth you had, you actually needed a Complex Will. You also are more likely to have your Will challenged if you decide to give more of your assets to one of your children, or if you decide to cut out a child altogether from your Will. Sometimes creating a complex will along with a trust will better accomplish your estate planning goals. You can create what is called a “pour over” Will. In a pour over Will, you create a trust and then state in your Will that all of your assets at your death will be poured into the trust.
When dealing with a Complex Will, you need to work out your Net Worth, your Assets and your Liabilities. My new Companion Edition add-on to my Currency Exchange Planner will help you plan for this. You can enter all of your assets and your liabilities and it will calculate your net worth that you can take to your lawyer. From there he will advise you whether you'll need a Simple Will, Complex Will or a Trust.
So to cut this short, having a thorough, carefully planned-out Will is a MUST, even more of a priority than paying off your debts at the start. There are 4 types of Wills and I suggest you do some online research and learn the differences between them so when you present yourself to your lawyer, you're already educated. Get the Will done, get it out of the way and then you'll have the peace of mind to continue to settle your debts, if that is part of your planning and then work on bank investments to generate a healthy monthly income stream.
My Currency Exchange Planner and my new Companion Edition with its Advanced Wealth Management tools have been carefully and thoughtfully designed for the Dinarians at heart.
I hope you have benefited from my article.
Thank you and I wish you all the success in your currency exchange.
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