Foreign Question

Can I appoint a non-Malaysian to be an executor and trustee?

Yes you can. However, before you do so, you should consider whether it is practical. How long Will he or she be in the country? In addition, he or she may not be well versed with the country's system and would not have the time to come to Malaysia to perform the duties involved as an executor. This can cause unnecessary delays in the estate administration.

Can my Will include foreign property?

Yes, your Will can include with both assets within Malaysia and abroad. In order to enforce your Will overseas, your executor may need to re-seal the grant of probate in a court of the foreign jurisdiction.

However, it is better to obtain specific legal advice for foreign real property because the law governing the Willing of real property varies from country to country. In certain circumstances, it may be advisable to write another Will dealing specifically with your foreign property.

I understand that Singapore citizens can only own property in Malaysia by paying a levy. Does it mean that if they inherit property in Malaysia, a levy will also be imposed?

The National Land Code provides that foreigners (not only Singapore citizens) can own (and inherit) property in Malaysia only after prior approval from the state government has been obtained. The state government may grant the approval subject to such terms and conditions as may be specified by the state.

The law on the imposition of levy has been changed a few times, following the prevailing economic situations.

Presently, the levy has been removed and hence no levy will be imposed. However, there could be changes to the law in future, and all transfers shall be subject to the law governing such transfers at that time.

If my Will is made and proved overseas, can it be enforced in Malaysia?

Generally, yes. It will be recognised by the courts here if the Will was made in accordance with the manner required by the Wills Act in Malaysia, or the laws pertaining to Wills in the country where the Will was written. Your executor may apply to the High Court to re-seal the grant of probate in Malaysia. Thereafter, your executor may deal with and distribute your assets in Malaysia according to your Will.

Can I Will away my foreign assets?

Yes, but only the movable assets in a foreign country. The immovable assets Will follow the law of the country of domicile.

Will my foreign spouse have entitlements to my testate/intestate succession when I pass on?

Yes, provided that the marriage is a valid marriage under Malaysian law. A foreign spouse is also entitled to claim for the jointly acquired property upon the death of a Muslim deceased spouse.

If you are Malay and Malay reserve land is concerned, although your spouse is not a “Malay” as such, he or she may still apply to the Ruler-in-Council for approval of acquisition of land.