The Administration Of Wills And Estates In Hong Kong
1. The Need For Administration Of Estates
After a loved one dies relations have the added burden at a time of bereavement of winding up the estate. The assets in the estate will be frozen from the date of death so there can be temporary hardship for dependents. There are two types of administration of estates, depending upon whether the deceased left a will. It should be noted that in Hong Kong it is a criminal offence to deal with a deceased’s estate before the Court has granted administration.
2. Grant Of Probate
If the deceased made a Will it will be the duty of the Executors named in the will to apply for a Grant of Probate and the estate will devolve as provided for in the Will. When there is only one executor named in the Will there are circumstances, for example if there is a minority interest, when the Executor must appoint another person to act with him or her. The estate will devolve as provided for in the Will.
3. Letters Of Administration
If the deceased made no Will the right to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration and wind up the estate, in the same way as Executors would apply for a Grant of Probate, is determined by the Intestates’ Estates Ordinance and the Non-contentious Probate Rules. If the deceased left a surviving spouse but no children, parents, brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces then the whole of the estate will pass to the surviving spouse. If the deceased left a surviving child or children, but otherwise the position is the same as above, one half of the estate passes to the surviving spouse and the other half goes to the children. If the child is a minor the administrators will hold the child’s share until his eighteenth birthday. There are further provisions in the ordinance for distribution of estates where there are different categories of surviving relations. Those entitled to share in the estate may apply for the Grant of Letters Of Administration with priority first to the surviving spouse and then the children. There are further provisions when no one in these categories survive.
4. Inheritance (Provision For Family And Dependants) Ordinance
This Ordinance provides for various categories of relations of the deceased, including, amongst others, surviving spouses, maintained former spouses, infant children, maintained parents or maintained adult children, to apply to the Court on the ground that the Will or the laws of intestacy do not make reasonable financial provision for the applicant. If the Court is satisfied that reasonable financial provision has not been made for the deceased it may make an order for provision to be made out of the estate.
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this article it is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice of any kind. You should seek your own personal legal advice before taking legal action. We accept no liability whatsoever for loss arising out of the use or misuse of this article.