The number of Malaysians making wills has soared following the recent airline tragedies. An estate planning firm here has reported a 40 per cent increase in new wills while public trustee AmanahRaya has received more requests from companies to hold talks for their employees on the importance of estate planning. "There is usually a surge (in new wills) whenever a (widely reported) tragedy occurs because it reminds people that life is fragile and it is better to be safe than sorry," Rockwills Trustee Bhd senior general manager Azhar Iskandar Hew said.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing with 239 people aboard in March, and in July Flight MH17 with 298 aboard crashed near the Russia-Ukraine border.
A recent article in Star/Asia News, titled "More Malaysians into estate planning after recent air tragedies," says that AmanahRaya has prepared more than 150,000 wills. Just as interesting, if not more so, is that there was roughly $23.45 billion worth of unclaimed money and assets in Malaysia because the owners did not leave any will when they passed away. Only between five to 10% of Malaysians are believed to have made their wills.
A family law practitioner quoted in the original article noted a "significant increase" in inquiries for will-writing services lately. This could be due to increased public awareness of the critical need to prepare a will against the backdrop of tragic events such as the MH370 airliner disappearance, let alone the recent headlines about will contests over estates involving well-known personalities.
This surge in estate planning interest from diverse news items may be making more people think about what they need to do regarding their own estates. Everyone wants to make sure they have everything in order for their loved ones when they pass away, right?
This may be the case here in the U.S., and like in Malaysia, we see an uptick in estate planning when a disaster strikes. Do not be reactive and only think about this important task in those unfortunate times. Be ahead of the game and proactive when it comes to determining how your estate will be divided. Speak with your estate planning attorney soon, not when you turn on the TV news and hear another tragic story.
Reference: The Star/Asia News (September 28, 2014) "More Malaysians into estate planning after recent air tragedies"