Properties, Assets & Shares

What assets should my Will cover?

Ideally, your Will should deal with all your assets, whether specifically or collectively. You may consider the following:

  • Real property: land and buildings, residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural properties;
  • Personal property: cash, bank balances, shares, transferrable memberships, vehicles, movable furniture, clothing, jewellery, books, camera equipment, computer equipment, etc.;
  • Intellectual property: copyrights, patents, designs;
  • Trust property: property which is being held by a trustee on trust for your benefit;
  • Future benefits: assets which you expect to receive in the future, including an inheritance.

Do I have to list all of my assets in my Will?

You are not required to specifically list all your assets in your Will; it is sufficient to refer to your assets generally, e.g. “all my real property” or “all my bank accounts”. However, it is advisable to state the particulars of all your existing properties as this will make it much easier for your executor to identify and call in your assets.

What happens if I have left out certain assets or acquire assets after making my Will?

Your Will should include a residuary clause which deals with the distribution of all your assets which are not specifically covered by any other clause in your Will. If you want to specifically deal with a new acquisition in your Will, you will have to either execute a new Will or a codicil.

What are the assets that cannot be dealt within a Will?
  • Insurance policies.
  • Money in Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) account.
  • A joint bank account, provided there is a survivorship clause mentioned in the agreement when opening the bank account.
I have a house under joint name with my husband. Can I will my half share in my house away to whoever I wish?

Yes, you can. The house will be held jointly between your beneficiary and your husband should you pass on one day.

Can I sell my assets mentioned in my Will after I signed it?

Yes, you can. Once you have sold off any of the assets mentioned in the Will, the respective beneficiary will receive nothing as on the date of your death, there is no such asset.

I own a private limited company. Can I will the shares to someone, but at the same time, put in a condition that the shares cannot be sold without the consent of a particular person?

No. Putting the condition in the Will cannot be legally effective because the Will does not bind the company whose shares are being held as it is a separate legal entity. Any restriction on the transfer of shares has to be mentioned in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company concerned.

Can I will away a piece of land which is registered in a private limited company's name where I am the majority shareholder?

No. The private limited company is a separate legal entity and is the true owner of the piece of land. You only own it indirectly through the shareholdings in the company and as such you cannot Will it away. However, you can instead will away your shares in the Company.

Can I put everything under my company's name instead of writing a Will?

There are several issues that may arise with regards to this method:

  • The issue of will happen to your shares in the company after you pass on, i.e. who is going to benefit from it and how are you going to effectively transfer those shares.
  • If it is not purely a holding company you should take into consideration the risk of losing everything should the business fail, and this defeats the purpose of limited liability.
  • There will be property gains tax upon disposal of any immovable property irrespective of how long it was acquired. Companies will need to submit their annual reports and audited accounts every year and these will be considered public documents. As such, there will be a lack of confidentiality.