Will & Probate
When a person dies, there may be estate (the money in bank accounts, company shares, real estate and other assets, etc.) left under the deceased’s name. No matter whether or not the deceased has made a Will, generally a Grant of Representation will have to be obtained from the Probate Registry of the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region before any of the deceased’s assets in Hong Kong can be dealt with. A Grant of Representation acts as evidence of a person’s right to deal with the estate of the deceased.
Qualifications for a probate
The Probate Division of the High Court is the granting authority, and the executor or administrator of a deceased person’s estate is required to obtain a grant of probate, a procedure known as probate. The grant is an official document of authority and only the person named in the grant is entitled to receive the money or property in the name of the deceased and to pay or transfer it to the beneficiaries.
Find us to create a will:
We draft wills and apply for probate for our clients. For historical reasons, inheritance in the New Territories is governed by a separate system, which often causes difficulties for the heir. We assist clients in processing applications for inheriting properties in the New Territories and untangling the problems involved.
Our services include:
- Application for Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration
- Draft Ownership Permissions and Modifications
- Planning and establishment of family asset trusts
- Drafting and proposals for a deed of family asset arrangement
- Dealing with probate proceedings
Grant of Probate
A legal document issued by the Probate Registry to the named executor in the will of a deceased person who has left a will.
Letters of Administration
For intestate deceased persons, a legal document appointing an administrator is issued by the Probate Registry under the relevant law. The relevant law refers to the Intestates’ Estates Ordinance, Chapter 73 of the Laws of Hong Kong.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Frequently Asked Questions on Will and Probate
What should I do if I want to administer an estate? It is a difficult question to answer because it depends on a number of factors. Nonetheless, if the Deceased died leaving estate in Hong Kong, you may consider the following matters, namely:
(a) the date of death of the Deceased,
(b) the domicile of the Deceased,
(c) whether the Deceased made a Will,
and (d) the value and nature of the estate.
With a Will
If the deceased died testate (i.e. he/she had made a Will appointing an executor), the executor is the only person who is entitled to apply for a Grant of Probate of the Will. If the executor does not wish to take up the appointment, or if no executor appointed by the deceased survives, then the person entitled to the residuary legacy in the Will has priority to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration (with the relevant Will annexed). The person entitled to the residuary legacy is the person who can take the remainder of the deceased’s estate after all the other conditions of the Will have been met (i.e. other beneficiaries have been paid, and all the debts and administration expenses have been settled).
Without a Will
If the deceased died intestate (i.e. no Will is found or if the Will has been revoked), the right of a person to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration would be governed by the law of intestacy. Under rule 21 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules (Cap. 10A of the Laws of Hong Kong), the order of priority is as follows:
- the surviving spouse or the surviving partner or partners to a union of concubinage (e.g. the second wife (and the third….) taken during the life of the first wife) entered into before 7 October 1971;
- the children of the deceased including any children born of a union of concubinage entered into before 7 October 1971, or the issue of any such child who has died during the lifetime of the deceased;
- the father or mother of the deceased;
- the brothers and sisters of the deceased or the “issue” of any deceased brother or sister of the deceased who has died during the lifetime of the deceased.
Generally, it should be the person with higher priority who applies for the grant, but if the person with higher priority has died or waived the right to apply for the grant, the person with lower priority is still entitled to the grant, but must present evidence to the Probate Division that the person with higher priority has died or waived the right.
The maximum number of administrators (or adminstratrix in case of a female) of an estate is four . When there is a dispute between persons entitled to a Grant in the same degree (i.e. they are all equally entitled to apply for the Grant), an application has to be made to the High Court to determine who will be appointed as administrators.
The court will impose fees in accordance with Schedule 2 of the High Court Fees Rules (Cap 4D). If the deceased died before 11 February 2006, the court’s fee will include (a) the filing fee of HKD265 for the application, (b) the transcription fee of HKD72 for the grant, and (c) the pro-rata fee for processing the grant application. If the decedent died on or after February 11, 2006, the court’s fee will consist of (a) a filing fee of HKD265 for the application, (b) a transcription fee of HKD72 for the grant, and the pro rata fee based on the net estate has been eliminated.
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As an experienced divorce firm servicing the public for decades, our professional team takes pride in solving our clients’ problems, protecting their interests and take care of different levels of needs.
Please contact us at (+852) 3101-7263 for further information.
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