The following story is based on an actual series of events with some names and circumstances fictionalised and any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional. We will be taking a closer look at why the executor of will is not as easy as it seems to be.
Elson and Jason were good friends for many years. They have met each other since primary school and even graduated from the same university. Growing up together, Elson would fend off those who bully Jason at school. They would also go to their makeshift secret base and play the whole afternoon after school.
Jason was the only child in his family, and because of that he sees Elson as the big brother that he never had.
As time goes by, these two boys have become men. They have both secured good jobs and beautiful and kind wives who bore them healthy children. It was a family that any man would be proud of with much love and warmth.
Not Ready To Be The Executor Of Will
What seemed to be an ideal life for Jason soon came to a tragic end. What seemed like a normal cough, turned out to be lung cancer. Elson’s heart was shattered, he felt as if he was betrayed by a person that he trusted the most.
“How dare he leave me behind?” was the first thought that came into Elson’s mind when he learnt of Jason’s departure. There were so many dreams that they had yet to achieve together.
Elson made a promise to Jason that he will take care of Jason’s family and everything else. “Rest in peace my brother, I got you. See you on the other side.”
Jason’s wife, Yvonne found Jason’s Will. It was a simple Will that named her as the beneficiary of every asset that Jason owned. Elson was named as the Executor in the Will. She wasn’t sure what an Executor meant, but since Elson’s name was mentioned, she guessed he may have known a thing or two about it.
Becoming An Executor Of Will, Is It A Nightmare?
That starts with being the appointed executor of will to sort out what was left behind by Jason. Even with no knowledge or experience in administering the Estate, Elson thought, what could go wrong?
A few months later, with the assistance of a lawyer, Elson obtained the Grant of Probate from the High Court. It was quite a straightforward though tedious procedure. All he had to do was to look out for the lawyer’s details of Jason’s assets.
With the Probate in hand, Elson thought all he had to do now was to transfer the assets according to Jason’s instructions in his Will, which is quite clear cut to Elson. Jason’s Will basically says to give all his assets to his wife.
Yvonne asked, “What about my husband’s debts? I know he has a few credit cards that needs to be settled.” Elson had an idea, if he could transfer all the liquid assets quick enough, then there would be nothing left for the bank to chase after.
After all, Jason is long gone now. Who would sue a dead person? Yvonne was sceptical at first, but with enough assurance from Elson, she accepted everything that Elson was transferring to her. Elson had bypassed all Jason’s creditors in administering the estate.
The Executor Of Will In Action
A few months have passed since, notice of due payment received by Yvonne has now become a letter of demand with a letterhead from a law firm that was appointed by the banks. To make matters worse, Yvonne also received a letter from the Inland Revenue Board Of Malaysia that is addressed to Jason to declare his income.
As much as Elson tried to ignore the demands from Jason’s creditors, he soon learned that he was obliged by the law to pay up the creditors first, especially the tax due, which was one of the first priorities.
All attention is now on Elson, with letters that legal action will be taken against him personally if he did not satisfy Jason’s creditor.
“How does that even make sense? I’m just here to help, now I have to pay the price?!” Elson shouted at the lawyer whom he engaged for advice on what to do with the demands. It is either Elson calls back the assets that he has transferred to Yvonne, otherwise he will have to compensate the Estate’s creditors from his own pocket.
Elson is now desperate. Yvonne had used most of the liquid assets that were being transferred to her. “I have warned you, it was you who assured me that everything is fine. I have used the money. I can’t give it back.” said Yvonne.
While Yvonne was trying hard to scavenge whatever was left, Elson has been trying to see what he can sell off on his own to pay.
It Is Tough Being The Executor Of Will
It was a very bad time for both Elson and Jason’s family that they must face. Being an executor of will sounded very easy, many did not expect there to be so many legal pitfalls until it was too late.
It always starts with good intention to help, but often ends up in a relationship breakdown between the executor of will and the beneficiaries. Elson felt guilty that he had made the matter worse than it should be.
Yvonne had to pull back from some commitments especially the children’s education expenses. Yvonne had to face the embarrassment, but for Elson, he is at risk of legal liabilities. If he is not careful, he could be facing criminal charges as his lawyer said to him this could be defrauding creditors if their claims are not recovered because of his negligence.
A long legal nightmare is the likely outcome, that’s why it is not that easy being an executor of will.
About Rockwills International Group
Rockwills International Group, now in its 27th year, pioneered professional will writing in 1995 and has since evolved into the leading estate planning specialist in the country. It is today the largest provider of solutions and support services in the areas of trusts, succession, management and distribution of wealth. It has shareholders’ funds exceeding RM50 million. It has done over 280,000 wills and 15,000 trusts and hold more than RM25 billion in assets under trust.