Peter Lee is a man with mission. He wants to see more Malaysians write their wills to protect their families who are left behind. He walks the talk – if you see him in Ipoh, chances are his car will “strike” you from afar before you see him (see picture below). Will writing used to be a taboo subject but it isn’t now. The problem now is procrastination, the classic “Wait and See’ attitude. After all, we are all humans anyway and hence the title of the his book – To delay is human, to will is divine.
Peter started off as a Company Secretary in 1988. A member of the Malaysian Association of Company Secretaries, Peter still provides company secretarial services. However, in providing secretarial services to many companies, he encountered countless disputes among business partners especially those involving family businesses. He attributes this to lack of or no planning at all pertaining the matters of succession and distribution of their estate to the next-of-kin in the event of death of a partner. From that day onward, he expanded his services as professional estate planner.
In the absence of a properly written will, the next-of-kin are almost always saddled with innumerable family issues over distribution of the deceased’s estate. Isn’t it a waste to have built up a successful business over the years, only to have it ruined by one incident? Peter laments it is often distressing to be caught in the middle between many fights and quarrels.
Peter Lee’s observation is that when someone passes away their problems will cease but the problem for their surviving families will begin. Peter often asked – “Why would you not bring peace of mind not only for yourself but also for your family upon your demise?”
In this Part 1, Peter and I discussed about:
- How estate planning ensure fairness to your beneficiaries
- What is severely lacking in many businesses with regard to business continuity
- Why the issues due to lack of/no estate planning is not a problem money can solve
- Why a person should seek help in estate planning and what this has to do with Astro
Think of this, according to Peter, in Malaysia alone, more than RM40 billion of cash and non-cash assets are left by the dead which are not claimed by their heirs. Of this, land and property account for about RM38 billion, RM1.5 billion is with the Registrar of Unclaimed Monies (savings accounts and fixed deposits in banks and financial institutions) and more than 70 million has been left in the Employees Provident Fund. In addition, there are also a million land titles still in the names of the deceased.