When Should You Start Writing Your Will?
Saying that you can write a will at any point in their lives is not exactly accurate, but once you’re over 18 years old, it’s a possibility in most places. However, not many people have assets to will as young adults. When’s the perfect time to write a will, then?
Things to Consider
Having not much wealth (yet) isn’t a reason to not write a will. As long as you have at least one thing that has a significant value you should have a will, even if the item is just the run-down, sub-sale house you’re living in. It is important that you state clearly who that house is going to go to.
Also, in Malaysia, you have to be the age of 18 and above (21 in Sabah) for your will to have any legal standing. If you have reached the required age, then you should probably consider making one.
The Right Time
If you haven’t already written a will, realisation about it strikes usually governed by certain events, or ‘triggers’, that happen in your life.
Changes in Status
Getting married is definitely one such trigger. For starters, any wills you made when single becomes nullified when you’re married unless otherwise stated, especially if you’re a woman who takes on your husband’s family name.
You can also consider having your will drawn up when you get divorced or remarried. It is important that you get your spouse’s name included or excluded (whichever is applicable to the situation) in your will.
Having a Child
Having a child is also a reason to write a will. In the event that something tragic happens, you want to make sure that the wealth you have spent so much time accumulating goes to the people you want and that your children are provided for.
As an added measure, name a guardian for your child in case something tragic happens to both you and your spouse so that they can care for your child and the assets bequeathed to them as per your will’s instructions.
Business Succession Plans
If you started a business and want to keep it in the family, a will is necessary for you to detail out your succession plan, in which you state the family members you wish to pass the business to when you pass on or retire. This will acts as a failsafe in case you don’t get to pass the reins safely after training and guidance.
“I will die someday.” Everyone dies someday, of course, but being reminded of it suddenly might prompt you to think about your own future and your family’s.
Maybe someone you know recently passed away, or you’ve had a near-death experience, or a major diagnosis. Being reminded that you are not immortal is one thing that will urge you to write your will.
Don’t make the mistake that many Malaysians do – to not consider making a will at all. Everyone needs a will, it’s just about doing it at the right time.