Own Foreign Assets? Here’s How To Include Them In Your Will

will writing to cover foreign assets

Owning foreign assets is rather common for investors, be it in the form of a foreign property or stock. In fact, most people are now encouraged to have foreign assets, due to the many advantages such investments bring. 

But have you ever wondered what actually happens to your foreign assets when you pass away? Can they be included in your will, and will the foreign legal system recognise your intentions?

What counts as a foreign asset

But first, before we can explore what happens to your foreign assets after your death, first we have to discuss just what counts as a foreign asset.

Well, to be honest, this is quite straightforward. Foreign assets are anything that you own outside of Malaysia. Meaning a foreign asset can be a property you own in a different country, a foreign investment, a car, or even jewelry.

Can your foreign assets be included in your will?

The easy answer is; yes, you can include your foreign assets in your will.

The hard answer, however? It depends on where your foreign assets are located.

Here’s an explanation. While you can include your foreign assets in your will, it requires you to have your executor re-seal the grant of probate in a court of the foreign assets’ jurisdiction.

If you have a Malaysian will that also covers overseas assets, the appointed executor named in the will first will have to apply for a Grant of Probate, which will give him the power to administer the estate and distribute it according to the instructions in your will. Then the executor will have to apply for a Resealing of Grant of Probate in another jurisdiction where assets are located.

In simpler terms, you will need to create another will in the country where your assets are located. The easiest way to get your lawyer to sort it out.

For example, if you have a holiday home in the United Kingdom and want to include that in your Malaysian will, then the executor of your estate will have to re-seal the grant of probate (get the will recognised) in front of a United Kingdom court.

Even then, it is highly circumstantial, depending on the foreign country’s set of laws regarding assets or property.

Different countries have different laws

If your assets are in the United Kingdom, then chances are it will be a straightforward procedure, as Malaysia inherited a lot of the laws in place right now from its time as a United Kingdom colony.

Generally,  Commonwealth jurisdictions, such as Singapore, United Kingdom and Australia, can reseal Grant of Probate granted by a Malaysia High Court.

However, if your foreign assets are located in a different country such as the United States of America or elsewhere, it is better to get specific legal advice.

One thing to remember is that your Malaysian will is not universally recognised, which will make it very difficult for your next-of-kin to handle your overseas assets when you are gone. In most cases it shouldn’t be more difficult than some additional paperwork, but there could be issues if the will is contested.

Which is why due to the reasons we’ve stated above, it is advisable for you to make a separate foreign will that only covers your foreign assets located in that particular country.

Remember to ask for specific legal advice

In the end, executing a Malaysian will that includes foreign assets can be quite confusing and a time consuming process, especially if your will is not recognised in the country where your assets are located.

For this reason, we implore you to notify your lawyers if you have any foreign assets, and they can advise you on what the next steps are.

Read More:
Where Can You Get Your Will Done Online?
What Happens To Your Family When You Die Without Writing A Will?

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