The Legacy – Part Two (Finale)
A Will is a written instrument where an individual signifies his wishes as to the distribution of his estate after his demise. Since it takes effect only after death, the Will is revocable and can be modified at any time before the Will-maker dies. It is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to organise one’s estate and there are various ways in which you may get a Will written.
You may engage a lawyer who is well-versed with estate laws to write a Will (especially if you have a lot of assets and dozens of family members) or you may seek the help of a professional Will-writer. There’s also Amanah Raya Berhad, a quasi-governmental body that specialises in estate administration, offering Will-writing services as well as estate administration and trust services. Of course, you may also do it yourself by searching for sample Wills in the internet or books, provided your Will is a straight-forward one. Muslims are also able to write their Wills to cater to their needs who want to adhere to the syariah principles in estate administration.
Apart from Wills, there is another instrument called Trust. Essentially, Trust is a legal arrangement or relationship whereby an individual transfer assets to a third party called a trustee (who may be an individual, a professional advisor or a corporation) who are bound to follow a set of directives, rules and regulations for the benefit of others known as the beneficiary. A Trust creates an equitable obligation, either expressly undertaken or strictly imposed by the court of law. The trustee is duty bound to handle the trust property for the benefit of the beneficiaries. In this regard, Muslims may also create a Trust and it’s a very important and useful instrument for estate planning. For example, Adam may decide to create a Trust whereby each of his grandchildren will receive RM100 a month until they reach 21 years old, upon which they stand to get a lump sum of RM10,000 each as a graduation gift. All these payments will be on-going even when Adam is no longer around.
Last but not least, you may also purchase an insurance policy on your own life and nominate your spouse, children or parents as your nominees. Upon your death, the sum assured plus bonuses (if any), will be payable to your appointed nominees and they will be able to receive the money as beneficiaries. The advantage of this method is that there’s no need for probate and your family members will be able to receive the money sooner with less hassle. However, this is not applicable for Muslims as their appointed nominees will receive the money as trustees rather than beneficiaries and they should distribute it according to the faraid law of distribution.
So, how would you like to be remembered? You need not be a superstar or a world leader to be able to leave a legacy. And what better legacy to leave behind than the positive values that you sow within the hearts and minds of your children and grandchildren. As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’d feed him for a lifetime!” This is similar to financial management and we should not just leave behind a large estate to our children without teaching them how to manage. This may be one legacy worth leaving behind…