Safeguarding Your Legacy

13 March 2024

9-min read

Estate planning is a critical process that empowers individuals to dictate the fate of their assets and legacy beyond their lifetime. At the heart of this planning are legal documents such as wills, wasiat and the concept of hibah (for Muslims). In this article, we will explore the importance of wills, delve into the intricacies of wasiat within Islamic principles, and touch upon the concept of hibah.


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Estate planning is a critical process that empowers individuals to dictate the fate of their assets and legacy beyond their lifetime.


The Significance of a Will


What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that outlines a person's wishes regarding the distribution of their assets, guardianship of minor children, and other matters upon their death. It allows an individual, referred to as the testator, to specify how they want their property and affairs to be handled after they pass away. Wills are typically prepared with the assistance of legal professionals to ensure they meet legal requirements.


The benefits of writing a will are multifaceted:

  • Intentional Asset Distribution: A will ensures that your estate and assets are distributed according to your wishes, providing clarity on who benefits from your legacy.
  • Control over Inheritance: You can stipulate the amount of inheritance each beneficiary receives and when they inherit, allowing for a more tailored and controlled distribution.
  • Provisions for Special Circumstances: Wills enable you to make provisions for family members or friends with specific needs or unique lifestyles, ensuring they are cared for in a manner aligned with your intentions.
  • Appointment of Executor: Wills allow you to appoint an executor of your choice, whether an individual or corporation. This executor is authorised to handle your assets, ensuring proper administration and distribution according to your wishes.
  • Guardianship for Minors: Through a will, you can appoint a guardian for your minor children, ensuring their well-being and care in the event of your passing.
  • Remuneration for Tasks: Wills provide a means to remunerate individuals conducting specific tasks outlined in the document, such as caring for elderly parents or children.
  • Efficient Estate Distribution: A well-drafted will ensures that the distribution of your estate is fast and efficient, minimising the risk of the erosion of its value.


Consequences of Absence of a Will

Without a will, the law—not the individual—determines the distribution of wealth, personal belongings, and assets. This process can be cumbersome, time-consuming, and may cause financial distress to the family. A court-appointed administrator may not be the most suitable guardian for minors or individuals with special needs.


The Significance of Wasiat for Muslims


What is a Wasiat?
In Islamic terminology, wasiat refers to a testamentary disposition or will that is made in accordance with Shariah law. In Islamic practices, the Shariah law has specific guidelines regarding inheritance, and a wasiat in this context ensures that the distribution of a deceased person's assets complies with these Shariah principles. It allows individuals to make provisions beyond the default inheritance rules prescribed by Islamic law.


For Muslims, wasiat plays a crucial role in estate planning within the framework of Islamic law. Key benefits of writing a wasiat include:

  • Allocation to Non-Faraid Heirs: Muslims can bequeath up to 1/3 of their estate to non-Faraid heirs or for charitable purposes, offering flexibility beyond the Faraid proportions.
  • Provision of Harta Sepencarian: Wasiat allows for the provision of Harta Sepencarian, enabling the surviving spouse to claim matrimonial property before estate distribution in accordance with Faraid principles.
  • Appointment of Executor and Guardian: Similar to wills, wasiat enables the appointment of an executor and guardian for minor or special children.
  • Efficient Distribution: Wasiat facilitates fast and efficient estate distribution with fewer formalities, preventing possible erosion of the estate's value.


Consequences of Absence of Wasiat

Without wasiat, the distribution of a Muslim's estate follows Faraid principles strictly. Adopted children or stepchildren may not be entitled to inherit, and non-Muslim family members may be excluded. The absence of wasiat may result in a court-appointed administrator, causing delays and potential financial distress.


How does Hibah in Islamic finance differ from traditional wills, and what are the implications for estate distribution, especially in terms of Fara'id for Muslims and debt exemption for non-Muslims?

Hibah denotes the act of giving a gift or making a donation within the framework of Islamic finance. It entails the voluntary transfer of ownership of property or assets without involving any monetary exchange. Hibah can be utilised during an individual's lifetime to gift assets to family members, friends, or others. Unlike a will, which takes effect upon the death of the testator, hibah is immediately effective. This method is commonly employed to transfer wealth and assets in accordance with Islamic principles. Notably, for Muslims, hibah does not become part of the estate subject to Fara'id, and for non-Muslims, the benefits are not considered part of the estate and are exempt from debts.


Estate planning, whether through wills, wasiat, or the concept of hibah, is a fundamental step in securing your legacy. These legal instruments empower individuals to dictate the fate of their assets, ensure the well-being of loved ones, and contribute to charitable causes. Understanding the nuances of each component and considering the consequences of their absence is essential for a comprehensive and effective estate plan. Additionally, entrusting a custodian with the safekeeping of your will adds an extra layer of security to this crucial document. By taking these steps, you can safeguard your legacy and provide for your loved ones in a manner that aligns with your values and intentions.


Protect Your Legacy with Maybank

Maybank stands ready to provide invaluable guidance and assistance in the meticulous process of drafting your will. This ensures that your intentions are not only clearly articulated but also met with precision, allowing for the seamless and efficient distribution of your legacy. By entrusting your estate planning to Maybank, you benefit from a team that prioritises your unique needs, aiming to navigate the complexities of the process, and facilitate a swift and effective execution of your wishes.


In a groundbreaking collaboration, Maybank Islamic Berhad ("MIB") has partnered with Createwills Sdn Bhd to introduce EzyWasiat, a revolutionary digital platform designed to streamline the process of will creation for the Bank's customers. EzyWasiat stands out as an online solution equipped with cutting-edge automated software, specifically crafted to calculate your assets according to Faraid law. The platform's primary objective is to eliminate the complexities often associated with the legal hurdles of wealth distribution. With EzyWasiat, the process is not only streamlined but also prevents potentially lengthy legal proceedings that could take years to complete without the presence of a will. Furthermore, this digital wasiat can be easily printed, securely stored, or updated and amended at any time, offering flexibility to meet the evolving needs of your family, making estate planning more accessible and efficient.


For more information on wills and wasiat, visit


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