Why do I need a Will?

Yes you can but you may not like the way the Distribution Act 1958 determines how your assets are distributed and the lengthy and arduous process.

When you do not write a Will, you are in effect letting distribution follow what is stated in the Act. This is called intestacy and requires an application for a letter of administration which takes a longer time because of additional legal requirements to be complied with.

With a Will, the time to complete distribution is considerably shortened and you avoid the need for sureties/guarantors and the need to search for a reliable administrator. You can also ensure that the welfare of your children are taken care of by appointing a guardian while you still retain control over your assets even after writing your Will.

As long as you are eighteen or above, you are never too young to write a Will and protect your loved ones from hassle and delay. Just like you are never too young to buy insurance.

Do not procrastinate. Accidents or terminal illness can happen to the young too.

Have you ever wondered what happens when a person passes away? How will his assets be distributed? When a person dies intestate, i.e. without a Will, the next of kin will have to apply for a Letter of Administration and will need to secure sureties for the estate as well as guardians if there are minors involved. In the meantime, the assets are frozen and this process could take two years or more. And the distribution is fixed under the Act and can include surviving parents.

Is this what you really want? For your family to carry on while your assets are frozen for two or more years? Without instructions from you as to who should handle the assets or who should look after the minors financially? For perhaps several additional heirs to part own your house?

Everyone should have a Will no matter how small the estate is so that the family is not further burdened.

You may wish to consider paying back to society by giving to your favourite cause, such as education, medical research, charity or religious body of your choice.

It is all relative. Regardless of the value of your assets, they are important to your loved ones especially those who depend on you.

Writing a Will is about creating a legacy of love and protecting the little treasures you have. You can also decide the beneficiaries of your choice, when to benefit them and how much to benefit them.

Moreover, over the years your assets may grow and our Will can cover future acquired assets as well as future inherited assets without re-writing it if you do not wish to do so. Besides, if you have young children, you can also appoint guardians for them through a Will. And writing a Will will ensure that your beneficiaries can inherit your estate sooner.

Although this may be the present situation, over the years, you would have accumulated more assets and you would still need a Will to distribute them. Since a Will is only effective upon death, your present Will would still serve its purpose of determining your estate distribution.

Writing a Will is very important and if you are really undecided about the way your assets should be distributed, let us help. Firstly, list down all your assets and estimate the value of each item. Designate a beneficiary/beneficiaries to each bequest and tot up the amount for each and from this you will be able to get an idea of what the proportion of distribution to each beneficiary looks like and then adjust accordingly. This will help speed things up for documentation. Do not procrastinate. Act now as the unforeseen can happen.

Being superstitious will only cause difficulties for your family. Writing a Will has nothing to do with death. It is about planning the distribution of your wealth and protection of your loved ones. There are many benefits of having a Will.

In Hong Kong, which is a society with a lot of deep-rooted superstitions, many have written their Wills (about 20% of the eligible population). There, a Will is called ‘a peace book’ which gives the person peace of mind when it is written, not having to worry about how his properties will be distributed and when his loved ones will get it. In the Will, it clearly states his wishes and how they are to be carried out. Once you have written your Will, you too can enjoy total peace of mind.

Yes, you can, but there are disadvantages in having a joint Will (JW). Firstly, since it is the Will of two persons in one document, there is always a loss of confidentiality and privacy when the JW is used to apply for Grant of Probate. While applying for Grant of Probate, the JW will become a public document, which means it will be exposed to the public. If the other party values privacy and confidentiality, this is not the way to go. Secondly, if the JW is lost, both parties need to rewrite their Wills. Finally, if one party wants to alter his/her Will in the JW, there may be a need to rewrite a new JW by both parties. This is inconvenient and can be time consuming.

So, we recommend that you write individual Wills instead, which will ensure your confidentiality and privacy. It is also more convenient when you decide to rewrite your Will. We strongly discourage you to have this type of Will written.

Can do on my own?

Yes you can. However, you must ensure it is written in compliance with various laws including the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1971 and the 2 Wills Act 1959 and the Trustee Act 1949.

It is like making your own clothes to save on tailoring but the clothes may not fit.

Better to leave it to the expert. Your Will may be invalid if it is improperly written and as a result may cause hardship to your family. You may save some small money now but it will cost your family much more to repair the damage later.  It is a document which you cannot ‘try first’.

Although there are templates available from the bookstore or from the Internet, you need to be sure that your documents are complete, address what you really want and are legally valid after you are no longer around to amend. At the same time, you need to ensure that you keep it safe and that it is accessible by your intended executor or trustee.

You will miss out on proper legal guidance using such do-it-yourself methods. Errors and omissions can lead to disputes and costly delays later.

Look at this like insurance. Considering the financial values and emotional costs at risk when distribution is incorrectly done, our fee is worth the protection to your loved ones.

Free does not equate to good.

Can whoever give you free set aside time to provide you with proper guidance in drafting and providing subsequent support? Some may offer the service free but there is a catch or hidden cost – that you buy something else where the cost is mostly wrapped up in the package.

And such parties may not provide Will-writing as their core service. We on the other hand do nothing but estate planning, on a daily basis for the past 19 years. Your Will will be vetted by our legal specialists at least twice to determine that your Will is valid and effective.

Moreover, we are able to give you the full time personalized service including safe custody that the others are not able to provide.

When the service is free, you will not get the guidance and checks that you need and the risks, such as invalidity of the Will, disruption in the probate process and family disputes later, are not worth it.

Under the Wills Act, anyone can prepare a Will, but the question is whether the Will drawn up complies with the requirements of the law and fulfills the wishes of the testator. The Wills written by Rockwills are drafted and vetted by our  legal specialists. The legal specialists are legally qualified and have written hundreds of Wills as part of their daily job.

Our Rockwills Estate Planners facilitate the finalization of the Will according to your wishes, meaning we customise each Will to suit each individual. They take instructions from you in the comfort and convenience of a place of your choice, such as your home or office.

Integrity of information depends on systems and controls and not the medium by which such information is transmitted. In other words, going online to write Wills does not guarantee your personal information will be kept confidential and is no safer than other mediums for Will-writing. Consider the widespread high-jacking of online data through hacking, phishing and other viral means and information received for processing can be abused by whoever is offering the online service.

Our infrastructure and systems are secure to ensure that all personal information are restricted for access and tracked by a limited number of authorised persons and our REPs are professionally trained not to divulge the client’s information to any unauthorized third party. We have not in our many years of existence experienced any internal leakage of clients’ confidential information.

Who do I go to?

With the recent proliferation of people offering such services, you may be confused about who to see.

There are free-lance Will writers, Will-writing companies, trustee companies, law firms and even banks.

Before you decide, please check that whoever is offering you the service is reputable and can be relied on for keeping your information confidential. As many do not have estate planning as their core business, it is also important to assess whether the party will be in business for the long term and be in touch with you regularly for reminders and updates.

He/she should also be competent to do the job properly, i.e. the party must have access to legal and technical support.

When it comes to comprehensive estate planning and business succession planning, it is even more crucial that the party providing the service has the necessary expertise and resources that covers not just the legal aspects but also the human, financial and business aspects.

Yes you can. Anyone who is not a minor, or of unsound mind, can act as a trustee or executor.

But you need to bear in mind that such persons will grow old and die. Along the way, they may become sick, senile, incapacitated or become of unsound mind.

You need to ask yourself whether they will be trustworthy or committed when faced with pressures of their own in business, finance or otherwise.

You need to also ask yourself whether they are competent in handling legal, court, tax and financial affairs. It is our experience that in many cases, the individual eventually delegates the work to someone else who may or may not do the job properly and who may eventually cost more.

To know more on how to pick a trustee, please click here.

Please refer to Question 'Who should I go to for Wills/Trusts/Estate Planning?". The Will writing fee is not the main criterion for deciding the fate of your assets for the benefit of your loved ones but please write with your lawyer if you like his services.

Do not procrastinate though, as unforeseen things can happen and leave your family stranded.

What cost?

When dealing with such important issues as who and what to give and under what circumstances, cheap can mean deficient.

Because they are cheap, the cost of delivering the service has to be kept as low as possible. This means a very simple and inflexible format is used, with minimal service as well as lack of quality check and regular follow-ups.

Do not be penny wise pound foolish or as we may say, sens wise ringgit foolish. Taking such offers may cause you to miss out many aspects that you need to address but are not told about.

That is not true at all. Just do a search on the Internet and you will see fee quotes of others that are significantly higher than ours.

We believe our fees are among the most competitive in the market. For larger assets or estates, the fees are negotiable depending on size and complexity.

We strive for quality and efficiency to make our fees affordable. Over the years, we have written more than 150,000 Wills and set up several thousand trusts for clients. So we have the economies of scale that others do not have.

Yes, online Will-writing can be fast provided you are familiar with the Will-writing knowledge and process. Moreover it is only in a basic form. Hence, the Will may not be a true reflection of your wishes as there are no proper professional guidance and legal vetting on the Will clauses during preparation. The danger then is the Will could be legally defective or ineffective and that would defeat the purpose of writing the Will in the first place.

As preparing a Will is an important process, at Rockwills, we offer a comprehensive and flexible solution in writing your own Will through a personal consultation service which will be guided and vetted by our in house legal experts. If a Will is not written according to the Will Act, it can create more hassles in future or even rendered it invalid. Don’t settle for anything less as your future beneficiaries and assets are dependent on it.

The range of fees vary widely because the service provided is not the same although called by the same name. For example, a Will that is quoted for a very low price (see previous) may be using a template that does not allow you to change or ask questions or advice. At the other end, a more expensive one may involve a lengthy process of fact-finding, establishing your objectives through consultations and providing solutions to meet them. This way, your Will is very personalized as it is tailor-made to your needs and position.

It is like if you purchase ingredients for a meal, it will cost you a lot cheaper than going to a restaurant but you will not get the recipe nor will you get the person to cook for you. In effect, you get what you pay for.

Our fees vary depending on the level of service asked for. For example, our price range varies from a few hundred for a basic Will to several thousand ringgit, depending on what is required to be drafted and complexity, and whether advice or solutions are provided through consultations beyond the requirements of a Will. We fix and publish the prices for our products and services and we provide quotes on request for complex cases so that you are clear as to what we charge and there are no hidden costs.

Why Rockwills?

For the following reasons:

  1. Experience
    19 years in the business. Over 150,000 Wills written and 3,000 trusts set up. Over 2,000 Court Probates obtained.
  2. Specialty
    We focus on estate planning only.
  3. Convenience
    We come to your place at your convenience.
  4. Accessibility
    6 offices and over 4,000 franchisees. We can be reached anywhere in Malaysia and Singapore.
  5. Governance and internal control
    Dedicated just for our own operations. For details, click here.
  6. Business risk
    We are custodians. Unlike financial institutions, we are not in the business of financial risks.
  7. Professional indemnity
    We, and each of our franchisees, are covered for professional indemnity.
  8. Ring fencing of assets
    Trust and estate administration accounts are opened at banks with the name in trust for the beneficiaries.
  9. Protection of capital
    Investment of funds follows instructions and are assigned to reputable licensed asset management companies.
  10. Safety
    We store all legacy instruments in our own purpose built Bank vault next to the police station.
  11. Independence
    Not being part of any financial group, we are not partial to any particular financial product other than based on merits.
  12. Impartiality
    We carry out our duties impartially, according to instructions, without favouring any beneficiary.
  13. Complete service
    We have sophisticated systems, software and facilities and provide a full range of estate planning services that others are unable to provide.

We do nothing but estate and wealth succession planning. That has always been our focus.

We employ qualified people, some of whom are in multi-disciplines. We have more than 25 in-house lawyers and several certified financial planners and accountants. We also draw on the services of various tax consultants and law firms both locally and internationally.

Nearly all our senior management have been with us for more than ten years. Some of them are well known speakers and have written several books on the subject of estate and wealth succession planning.

We have more than 19 years of experience in this business. And having experience in trust and estate administration makes a lot of difference in that it has taught us much about drafting Wills and Trusts to avoid future conflicts.

The difference is only Rockwills provides a comprehensive range of services that include Advisory, Will-writing, Custody, Trust services, Bereavement Care and Offshore Corporate. Because of this, we can provide a complete and customised estate planning solution that caters for all your wishes.

Due to the advancement of technology, Will-writing is no longer like olden days when it was prepared manually by a type-writer or written by hand.

At Rockwills, we have rewritten the Will clauses/precedents from legal reference books as used by all legal professionals into a software (just like an e-book). Through the years of experience, we have expanded the clauses, improved specific wordings and the application so that the quality of our drafted Wills are second to none. With this specialized Will-writing system, today the Wills can be prepared more efficiently with more consistency and with built in auto-checks, eliminate unnecessary mistakes and delays.

Our objective is to ensure the instruction/wishes of the testator are taken into consideration. Every Will written by us is specially tailor made and drafted according to the wishes and instructions of the clients as Rockwills’ Will-writing system have the flexibility to cater for all the wishes of the testator whether they are ordinary normal wishes or extraordinary ones.

In addition, one can also ask, “How do the others prepare their Wills, is it not typed through a computer?” which can mean their drafts are susceptible to a greater degree of error and omissions unless there is double vetting as is done in our process.

How reliable?

We control quality through:

  • Training and examinations for franchisees
  • Continued professional education both for franchisees and staff
  • All legal drafting is done by qualified legal personnel
  • Consultation with external panel of experienced law firms for complex cases
  • Regular management and audit reviews

We are regulated under several Acts, including the Companies Act, the Trustee Act and the Trust Companies Act. Our trustee companies are required to abide by licence conditions with the Companies Commission of Malaysia in the case of Malaysia and with the Monetary Authority of Singapore in the case of Singapore. Our advisory company is required to abide by licence conditions with the Securities Commission of Malaysia. Both trustee companies are supervised by their respective monetary authority with regard to the laws on anti-money laundering.

Our trustee companies have gone beyond the basic regulatory supervision framework. We have our own governance structure which involves boards comprising several independent directors, audit, risk management and investment committees chaired by independent directors, a trust operations committee that conducts management reviews on all trust administration and estate administration issues, an internal audit function and a compliance function.

Our shareholders’ funds are among the highest in the industry and we have professional indemnity insurance that covers the Group and its franchisees. As our focus is in estate planning, we do not get involved in risk-carrying financial activities.

Even in the unlikely event that something does go wrong, all client assets, whether under our trust or estate administration, are ring-fenced from creditors as they are under the law kept in separate trust accounts which are not mixed up with each other’s or with company-owned assets.

All Rockwills Estate Planners (REP) must adhere to the company’s code of ethics and are professionally trained not to divulge the client’s information to an unauthorized third party, just like a lawyer and client relationship and that of a doctor and patient, on pain of dismissal.

All Wills signed by the testators must be vetted and approved by the legal specialists at Rockwills and the draft copy of the Will indicate that the will was vetted by Rockwills’ legal specialists and the final Will also be vetted before it is put into Will custody centre.

As testimony to our experience and expertise, we already have several thousand Wills approved for Grant of Probate by the High Court.

If it is necessary, a photocopy of the Will can be given to you or you can visit the company as often as you like to view your Will.

The need for document custody

Keeping your Will at home is not a good idea because of the risks. For one, there is the possibility that it gets misplaced. How many of us can locate an old document after moving house or office a few times? A Will that cannot be found is as good as no Will.

Then there is the risk of damage by water, fire or pests. And the risk of prying eyes and tampering. Many a case has happened where relationships have been damaged because the contents of the Will were read or where the original Will is not found and therefore probate application cannot be made because a close family member has destroyed the Will of the deceased upon discovering that the distribution was not to his/her satisfaction.

At Rockwills, we believe that the custody of the Will is very important and we have built a custody centre with the following features to make it the best place to keep your Will:

  1. Strong room with fire resistant reinforced walls and bank vault door
  2. Motion detector
  3. Smoke detector
  4. Non-explosive lightings
  5. Flood proofed
  6. Humidification control
  7. Bio-metrics security features (access only through cards and fingerprints)
  8. 24 hours security and CCTV
  9. Adjoining to a police station

Rockwills understands the importance of keeping your Will safe and offers the following benefits:

  1. The Will is bar coded and free from tampering
  2. Confidentiality is preserved
  3. The Will is certain to be found when needed
  4. There is protection from calamities
  5. The Will is free from accidental or deliberate destruction
  6. Access and viewing is controlled
  7. Continuous personalized service by Rockwills Estate Planners
  8. Free personal accident insurance
  9. Lifetime rewriting discount
  10. Special Will custody cards
  11. Personal assets inventory booklet to help you organize your financial matters
  12. Annual reminder service

Yes. Once your Will is deposited into the Rockwills custody centre, it will be closely monitored, coded with a special vault storage reference number and custody card for controlled access.

The problem is that when a person passes away, all the assets including the safe deposit box will be frozen even if it is in joint names. As such, the beneficiaries will need to get a court order in order to open the safe. Moreover, there is the problem of loss of privacy and confidentiality. When it is kept in the safe deposit box, the joint account holder will have access to the Will.

On the other hand, keeping your Will in our custody avoids such problems and offers many benefits (see Question "How safe is it to keep my Will at the Rockwills Custody Centre?".)

If you keep your Will in a secure custodial place such as a safe deposit box, you would need to pay the safe deposit box fee. Under the law the safe deposit box will be frozen upon death. This will cause inconvenience to your family in locating and having access to the Will as they may not know where the safe deposit box located is. (If they do, they would still need a court order to open it, meaning another round of costs and hassles.) 

However, keeping with our Professional Will Custody Service avoids such problems and is only about RM0.20 cents a day which is a small price to pay for the peace of mind knowing that the Will being a precious document is safely stored and can be found when the need arises. When the Will is kept at Rockwills custody centre, you will receive 2 custody cards (which flags the existence of the Will), a personal asset inventory booklet, annual reminder (renewal) letters and free personal accident cover worth RM10,000 with a one time registration fee of RM20.00. 

The two service is not comparable. Ours includes 2 custody cards for alerting, annual reminder along with a personal asset inventory book for your tracking of assets and free personal accident insurance worth RM 10,000*.

Under the law the safe deposit box will be frozen upon death. This will cause inconvenience to your family in locating and having access to the Will as they may not know where is the safe deposit box located. In any case, they would still need a court order to open the safe deposit box, meaning another round of costs and hassles.

On the other hand, our custody service costs only about 20 sen a day. Think of it as insurance so that you can sleep with peace of mind knowing that your Will is properly kept, free from prying eyes, tampering and possible damage and will not get lost.

* With a one time registration fee of RM 20.

Every individual will have one custody number and will get the same custodial service. Therefore, it is not possible for two persons’ Wills to be kept as one just as the husband and wife cannot share the same pair of shoes. Besides, this is our control so that only the appointed executor, upon the testator’s death, has access to the particular Will. Unless duly appointed as the executor, even the spouse has no access to the Will.

Considering that you will probably live longer than 10 years, the cost spread on a daily basis is really low. The Will is an important document and it is well worth the money spent. Furthermore, you will get 20% discount on your future rewriting fee.

The first year custody package is compulsory because we take the responsibility to ensure that your Will is not lost or tampered with. Sometimes, you lose important documents when you keep those documents in a place that only you know about it. If the Will is tampered while you are keeping it, the tampering may invalidate your Will and this will defeat the objective of writing your Will. If it is kept at Rockwills Custody Centre, then no such event will happen because the Will is kept in a secure place which is fire-resistant for a few hours and tamper proof. Only you can retrieve (during your lifetime) and have access to your Will. Your executor can only retrieve your Will by producing your original death certificate with the custody card and his/her original identity card or passport as proof of identity. Family members are not allowed to retrieve if they are not the executors, unless authorized in writing by the executor. This is part of our control process before we allow access to the Will. (Show newspaper cutting on lost or tampering of Will.) Hence, you can experience the benefits for at least a year before you consider whether to retrieve.

If you find that it is troublesome to pay annually, you can sign up for our lifetime custody and pay only RM1188.00. With lifetime custody, you not only get a 20% discount on rewriting but you can also store your rewritten Will for free.