Procedure for Administration of Estate in Malaysia with or without a Will
Procedure for Administration of Estate in Malaysia with or without a Will Administration of estate is the process of locating and managing a deceased’s assets, paying off his debts and distributing the remaining assets to the lawful beneficiaries. The first step is to work out whether you need a grant of probate or a letter of administration and this hinges on the deceased dies with or without a valid will.
With a Will
If the deceased dies leaving behind a valid will and having appointed an executor who is able, willing and has the capacity to act as such, the executor has to obtain a grant of probate. The application for a grant of probate has to be made to the High Court and the following documents are required:
a) death certificate,
b) the original Will,
c) identity card (IC) of the executor,
d) list and identity cards (IC) of the beneficiaries,
e) list of assets of the deceased,
f) list of liabilities of the deceased, and
g) any other documents required by lawyer from time to time.
After filing of the relevant documents by the lawyer, the High Court will fix a hearing date and the intended executor / executor(s) are required to attend the hearing before a Registrar of the High Court. The Registrar upon being satisfied that the documents filed are in order will make the order for probate, and thereafter the executor can extract the probate. This entire process will generally take about 3 to 6 months depending on the size of the estate.
Without a Will
On the other hand, if the deceased dies without leaving a valid will, then a letter of administration instead of probate would be required. In granting the letter of administration, the court will appoint an administrator to manage and administer the deceased’s estate. The person most suitable to be the administrator would be the beneficiary of the deceased’s estate. Application for a letter of administration must be supported by the following documents:
a) death certificate,
b) identity card (IC) of the administrator,
c) list and identity cards (IC) of the beneficiaries,
d) list of assets of the deceased,
e) list of liabilities of the deceased,
f) administration oath if there is any minor interest,
g) renunciation by other beneficiaries who are entitled to the grant but not applying; and
h) any other documents required by lawyer from time to time.
It is important to note that an administration bond is required for the grant of letter of
administration, where there must be two sureties who have assets within the jurisdiction equivalent to the amount of the deceased’s estate as security for the due administration of the estate.
Nevertheless, an application for dispensation of sureties can be made to the court, and the court may, for any sufficient reason, increase, decrease or dispense with the administration bond requirement.
Generally, the hearing of an application for letter of administration is conducted by the Registrar of the High Court and the administrator(s) are required to attend the hearing. The Registrar will inquire into all necessary matters and upon satisfied, grant the letter of administration. This entire process will generally take about 6 months to 2 years + depending on the complexity of the case.
Collection of Assets and Payment of Debts
Once the probate or letter of administration is extracted, the executor or the administrator can collect all the deceased’s assets into his possession to settle all the deceased’s debts or liabilities. If the estate involved is a large one, it is highly advisable for the executor or administrator to advertise inviting claims (in the Government Gazette and one of the leading newspapers) against the deceased’s estate in respect of liabilities. The minimum time period for persons such as the deceased’s creditors to submit their claims is two months. In cases where the deceased’s assets are
insufficient to pay the debts and liabilities, the order or priority will be:
i. funeral, testamentary and administration expenses,
ii. secured creditors, followed by
iii. unsecured creditors.
After the payment of debts and liabilities, the executor or administrator shall distribute the remaining assets according to the terms of the will (if there is a will) or Distribution Act 1958 for non-Muslims (without a will).
Completion and Preparation of Accounts
The executor or the administrator can only conclude the administration by rendering proper accounts and obtaining appropriate discharges from all the beneficiaries acknowledging receipt of their respective shares in the estate.
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