In the event that there are no children, half the property goes to the widow. The deceased's surviving parents then inherit the other half.
If there are no parents, the brothers and sisters; if not, then the uncles and aunts, take the half. Only if there is nobody else can the widow take all.
On the other hand, the husband gets the whole of the dead wife's estate if she does not leave a will.
“In view of this unbalanced Distribution Law on Intestacy, a woman with wealth and property has more reasons to make a will.” to quote Mr. Lai Nai Sing, manager of HSBC Trustee Bhd, in 1982.
Mr. Lai also warned that any person who qualified as a beneficiary should not be left out of the will. “Under the Inheritance Family Provision Act, a man must provide for those whom he is legally bound to provide for.”
“Thus, even if there is a black sheep of a son you do not care for, do not leave him out. Even if you leave him only a dollar, this will close the door to any litigation.”
Another point to note is that any gift or gifts to attesting witnesses or their spouses shall be void. For example, you should not sign as a witness to your father-in-law's will which leaves everything to your husband.
Apart from this, a will is valid only if it fulfills these four conditions:
1. The person who makes it must be of age (over 18 years in Malaysia);
2. He or she must be of sound mind;
3. The will must be in writing;
4. The signature must be witnessed by two independent witnesses (people who are not beneficiaries to the will).
(From an article, Why it's important to make your will, published in The Star on September 23, 1982.)
What will you do if your mother inherited 1/3 of 2/3 of her father's property, in accordance with the law on intestacy?
We have a strange situation where my mother was asked to sign off her share (2/9), to be shared equally between her two late brothers' families. Was there undue pressure or influence which made her sign the will in 1975? The fact that my mother signed a new will (which according to the law on wills, would have superseded the earlier will) without any mention of the provisions of the first will, has now open the possibility of our claim, as beneficiaries, to the property in question. That the administrator (a grandson) of our grandfather's estate, was the sole beneficiary of our grandmother's one-third share sure makes it suspicious to any outsider.