If a person owns real estate, shares or other investments, after he or she passes on, there is a formal process that must be completed before any estate assets can be distributed. Set out below are the 2 main processes related to probate, letters of administration and other relevant issues.
There are two (2) types of deceased’s estate:
- Testate estate - where the deceased person dies leaving a valid and enforceable will.
- Intestate estate - where the deceased person dies without leaving a valid and enforceable will.
Probate is the legal process of proving the validity of a will leading to the administration and distribution of a testate estate (movable and immovable property) of a person upon death.
- Obtain the original death certificate
- Locate the original will.
- List the assets and liabilities of the estate.
- Get a certificate of valuation of assets.
- Get the documents of title of immovable properties.
- Get the title documents of vehicles.
- Get letters from banks or financial institutions stating bank balances and/or shares held for the testator at the date of death.
- Get a list of beneficiaries.
Selecting the correct mode of application may save time and cost. Sometimes, it may not be necessary to apply for a letter of representation from the court.
An applicant may apply to Amanah Raya Berhad for summary administration if the total value of the estate is below RM600,000.00. Amanah Raya Berhad is empowered to administer and order distribution of the estate to persons having an interest in the estate.
An application can also be made to the Land Administrator for summary administration if, inter alia, the total value of the estate is below RM2,000,000.00.
Where an application is contested, the applicant can only proceed by making an application for letters of representation at the High Court.
Generally, the substantive laws applicable are as follows:
- For Peninsular Malaysia - the Probate and Administration Act 1959.
- For Sabah - the Probate and Administration Ordinance 1947.
- For Sarawak - the Administration of Estates Ordinance 1948.
If there is a minor beneficiary, the court may, instead of appointing a guardian over the property of the minor, order that such property, of whatever description, be placed in the hands of a person appointed by the court, with full power to deal and apply the property appropriately.