It’s a disheartening fact that less than 20% of Malaysia’s adult population possesses a will.
A forum by The Malaysia Will & Trust Association (MWTA) recently hosted a groundbreaking discussion entitled “Shaping The Future of Estate Planning In Malaysia” on December 13, 2023, at Sheraton Petaling Jaya. The event brought together distinguished guests, panel speakers, and industry leaders for an insightful exploration of crucial aspects in estate planning.
In his opening address, the President of MWTA Dato Chua Meng Min expressed gratitude to all participants, emphasising the forum’s significance as a bold initiative, possibly the first of its kind in Malaysia. The esteemed panel, including ZICO Trust (M) Berhad Chairman Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr. Nik Norzrul Thani as the Moderator, addressed the pressing need for effective estate planning in a society where wealth continues to grow.
Despite a decade-long effort to promote wills and trusts, the President highlighted the disheartening fact that less than 20% of Malaysia’s adult population possesses a will. The forum explored innovative solutions, including the rise of online will-writing platforms and the diversification of trust options, addressing challenges and making estate planning more accessible to the public.
An intriguing discussion emerged on the trend of Family Trusts in Singapore, presenting an opportunity for Malaysia to attract High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI). The call for the regulation of advisors in the will and trust industry echoed the precedent set by the life insurance industry in 1986, aiming to prevent misconduct and safeguard the public’s interests.
MWTA also unveiled its commitment to elevate industry standards through the introduction of “The Most Outstanding Holistic Wealth Advisors” award in 2024. This initiative sets a high bar for professionalism, contributing to MWTA’s mission to enhance public awareness about the importance of estate planning.
Collaborative Efforts and Knowledge Dissemination
Collaborating with the Centre for Corporate and Community Development of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, MWTA has taken a significant step towards knowledge dissemination. The association successfully launched the only Certificate of Competency in Estate Planning online course in Malaysia, solidifying MWTA’s commitment to equipping professionals with the necessary expertise in estate planning.
Panel Discussion Highlights
The heart of the forum lay in the insightful and thought-provoking panel discussion, where industry leaders shared their expertise on the future landscape of estate planning in Malaysia.
Addressing Industry Challenges
The panel acknowledged the persistent challenge of low will adoption in Malaysia, with less than 20% of the adult population having a will. Jack Yap from Amanah Raya Berhad emphasised the importance of collaboration between organisations, conducting workshops, seminars, and public campaigns to raise awareness during the event.
Government and Stakeholder Collaboration
Yap, being the Chief Business Officer of Amanah Raya Berhad highlighted the pivotal role played by the organisation in shaping the future of estate planning. Collaborating with government agencies, financial institutions, and stakeholders, Amanah Raya Berhad focuses on establishing guidelines and regulations to enhance the industry’s potential and practices.
Innovations and Strategies for the Future
ZICO Holdings Inc. Executive Director Chew Seng Kok provided insights into innovative strategies that can shape the future of estate planning. Embracing digital solutions, investing in online will-writing platforms, and secure document management systems were discussed as critical steps.
Sustainable Practices and ESG Integration
ESG Senior Advocate Ts. Dr. Norsaidatul Akmar Mazelan brought a unique perspective to the discussion by exploring the integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles and practices into estate planning. Educating clients about sustainable investment options, aligning values with wealth transfer plans, and adopting sustainable practices within service providers’ operations emerged as key strategies.
In conclusion, the panel discussion underscored the importance of collaborative efforts, regulatory frameworks, innovative strategies, and the integration of sustainable practices to shape the future of estate planning in Malaysia. The dynamic exchange of ideas between the panelists showcased a shared commitment to addressing current challenges and preparing for a future where estate planning is both accessible and aligned with evolving societal needs.
Established in 2021, MWTA is committed to enhancing public awareness about the importance of estate planning in Malaysia. Through initiatives, forums, and educational programs, MWTA strives to ensure a peaceful and meaningful distribution of assets, advocating for the regulation of advisors in the will and trust industry.
Please visit mwta.org.my for more information for latest news, industry awards and education programs.