A will is a legal document that states your instructions concerning the distribution of your assets upon your death and the care for your children should you die while they are still minors. Wills can be simple or complex depending on the kinds and locations of assets you own and the degree of detail in the designation of which heirs will receive what property.

Not everyone has a will. When a person dies without a will, the decedent’s estate is divided among the decedent’s lawful heirs in accordance with shares defined by law. Even where there is a will, some lawful heirs may have a right to a share of the estate even if the will provides them with nothing.

Lawful heirs are defined as the lawful and blood relatives and the surviving spouse of the decedent. In the absence of a will and blood relatives and a surviving spouse, the assets will devolve to the State.

Indonesian law defines the distribution of the decedent’s estate depending on whether the decedent is Muslim or not. The estates of Muslim decedents are divided according to the rules set forth in the Compilation of Islamic Law. The estates of non-Muslim decedents are divided according to the rules set forth in the Civil Code.

Wills for Muslims cannot bequeath more than 1/3 of the estate in a manner different from the forced shares provided by law to certain legitimate heirs; unless all of the legitimate heirs agree to bequests of greater value. The Compilation of Islamic Law prescribes shares received by male and female children, fathers and mothers, single and multiple widows, widowers and where the decedent leaves no heirs or the heirs are unknown, the transfer of the estate to the control of the Religious Priority Authority for the interests of the Islamic Religion and public welfare.

Wills for non-Muslims also restrict the ability of a testator to interfere with the forced share rights of certain legitimate heirs. The proportion of the estate subject to forced shares varies depending on the number of legitimate heirs and the relationship between the legitimate heirs and the decedent. The Indonesian Civil Code does not differentiate between genders in determining forced share rights, and further includes relatives more distant than children, fathers and mothers, widows and widowers.

Structuring and drafting wills can be quite complex even when wills seek to provide for management and settlement of estates comprised only of Indonesian assets. The issues become even more complex for testators who have assets both within and outside the territory of Indonesia.

For wills involving assets in Indonesia as well as assets outside of Indonesia that are to be divided between foreign persons and Indonesian citizens who are not resident in Indonesia on the one hand, and Indonesian citizens who are resident in Indonesia on the other hand, the Indonesian citizens who are resident in Indonesia are entitled to take an advance from the assets in Indonesia in an amount that is equivalent to the value of the Indonesian citizen resident’s proportional rights to the assets overseas.

The lawyers of Satrio Law Firm are well versed in Indonesian estate planning law. We are ready to assist you in drafting and executing your will in an enforceable and lawful manner pursuant to the provisions of Indonesian law. We are also capable of working with your attorneys and notaries in other jurisdictions to develop an estate plan that meets your unique requirements.


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