When it comes to will writing, the topic can be a taboo especially among the Asian communities. It’s either we talk about it, or we don’t. Many a times we take our lives for granted and think “It will never happen to us” or “I don’t have much assets to give away”.
Did you know that all your assets and money will go to the government if you don’t have a will? And that it will take years after years for your family members to fight for it back? To me, each of my hard-earned penny counts and should I be no longer around, they should go towards helping my family’s well-being, not for the government to build more ‘white elephant’ buildings or projects.
It didn’t occur to us to start writing a will until recently, when we were bombarded with news of this and that person dying young, leaving their families unprepared and directionless. I don’t like to be a pessimist but at the same time, I am not a risk taker too. My biggest fear isn’t death, rather the fate that awaits E in the event both his parents pass away before their time. Worse still, what if it happens simultaneously? Never say never, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
We began finding out more about will writing three months ago and discovered that this task can actually be done on our own. All you need to do is to list down the following:
1. All your assets (properties, cars, shares), bank/investment accounts, jewelries etc.
2. Breakdown of beneficiaries – the percentage of what goes to who – even if it’s a shared asset with your spouse
3. Executor – someone to help execute the will (usually your spouse but it can be someone else too)
4. Substitute executor(s) or trustee(s) – the people who will help execute the will in the event your demise coincides with your spouse’s. Required information include full name, IC number and current address.
Once these information are compiled, pass them to a trusted lawyer who will then draft the will in proper legal language and legitimise it. We don’t really know the exact charges for this as we engaged Hubby’s cousin – who is a lawyer – to do this and she has refused our payment. Alternatively, you may also draft it according to a will template and engage a law firm to review and validate it.
We have also found out that the fees charged by Rockwills, one of the more popular professional will writers, start from RM250+ and this amount increases if your will is more detailed or complex.
Choosing a guardian
The toughest task arises when it comes to choosing a guardian for E should both Hubby and I go at the same time. Who will take care and make sure he grows up to be a righteous man? Who can we entrust the task to care and love him wholeheartedly? Most of all, who will agree to taking this responsibility and be an appointed guardian? It has to be someone who is in middle age – not too old, not too young.
Siblings, I hear you say? No offence to my sisters and brothers but our parenting style and values are too different. I can’t foresee Ewan being happy in their environment. We sat down and cracked our heads thinking, who would be the perfect guardian? We thought of two couple friends who would definitely make great parents – loving and trusting relationship, healthy lifestyle, faithful to God, conducive home environment, love children, righteous and trustworthy etc – but the thing is, how do we approach them and ask, “Hey, can I list you as E’s guardian in case of anything?” That would definitely scare them off and losing them as friends is definitely something we don’t want. Most people would not want such sudden responsibility. If anyone were to ask me, I would be startled too initially (but I think we would probably say ‘yes’ eventually). At one point, I cheekily thought of just stating those names there without informing – just like the movie “Life As We Know It” by Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel! 🙂
After much contemplation, we decided to take the risk and go with someone who’s not exactly in our desired age range but whom E loves to bits. At least we have a back-up plan 🙂
Perhaps it’s time for you to think about writing a will too.