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Distribution Under The Small Estates (Distribution) Act 1955

Distribution Under The Small Estates (Distribution) Act 1955 TYH Co Malaysia KL Selangor

Distribution Under The Small Estates (Distribution) Act 1955 

The administration of a small estate is governed by the Small Estates (Distribution) Act 1955 in Malaysia. A “small estate” means an estate of a deceased person not exceeding RM2 million in total value (without deduction of debts) and the estate must at least consists of a land or building (i.e. immovable property). It can’t be a “small estate” without an immovable property.

Generally, any person claiming to be interested in the small estate as a beneficiary or a creditor of the deceased’s estate may lodge a petition at the District Land Office where the immovable property is situated. Nevertheless, the Director of Land and Mines of the state concerned or the Director General of Land and Mines of the Federation may order the petition to be heard or determined by the Land Administrator of any other district if it appears that such an order is in the interest of justice and it ensures the general conveniences of the relevant parties and witnesses.

The documents required to be filed together with the petition for distribution including all the titles or documents evidencing title relating to the deceased’s immovable property, the death certificate of the deceased, the sale and purchase agreement (if any), the identity cards or birth certificates of surviving heirs, account statements, marriage certificate, list of debts of the deceased and other documents related to the deceased’s estate.

The District Land Administrator will assess the value of the estate as at the date of lodging the petition. The District Land Administrator has the power to summon and examine witnesses as well as to compel production and delivery of documents. Moreover, the District Land Administrator may decide on any dispute arising throughout the hearing without the need to institute proceedings in court, unless the matters clearly fall under the jurisdiction of court or the Land Administrator deems it necessary to do so.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the District Land Administrator will grant a
distribution order and the distribution will be made according to the Distribution Act 1958 or the rule of Faraid for the non-Muslims and Muslims respectively. A small estate may be distributed within four months from the date of lodging the petition for distribution. Any person aggrieved by the order or decision made by the District Land Administrator may appeal to the High Court.


Further, section 17(1) of the Public Trust Corporation Act 1995 empowers and authorizes the Corporation to summarily administer the estate of a deceased if he dies leaving only movable assets in Malaysia and the total value of the assets (without deduction of debts) does not exceed RM600,000.00.

The application must be made by filing in a standard form as provided by the Corporation, supported by the deceased’s death certificate, the identity cards or birth certificates of surviving heirs, account statements or other documents related to the application. The Corporation will then proceed to confirm the status of the beneficiaries, the assets and liabilities of the deceased.

The Corporation will also conduct a search at the court to ascertain that there is no previous application or pending petition for the grant of probate or letter of administration.

Hence, those with prior rights under the will must first renounce their right to act if they opt for a summary administration by the Corporation.

Upon satisfied with the search and investigation, the Corporation will undertake to administer the estate by a declaration in writing. Thereupon the Corporation is empowered to administer the estate as if the letter of administration had been granted to the Corporation. The distribution will follow the Distribution Act 1958 or the rule of Faraid for the non-Muslims and Muslims respectively.

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