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What happens if you die without a Will in Hong Kong?

Aug 22, 2022

Dying without a will is a cruel thing to inflict upon your loved ones

If you die without a will, the legal term for that is "intestate.” Dying intestate is a cruel thing to inflict upon your loved ones, most especially if you have an unmarried partner. Many painful stories can be found on the web about family members who've suffered a loss and fought off creditors in addition to grief. Despite the fact that there's money for the deceased's bills and funeral, nobody can do it without an executor.

Who's going to get my estate if I don't have a Will?

Following the Intestates’ Estates Ordinance (Cap. 73) (the “IEO”) and the Non-contentious Probate Rules (Cap. 10A) (the “Rules”), the distribution will be:

Surviving Relatives
Distribution

A spouse only
The spouse receives all the residuary estate (i.e. the remaining estate after deduction of debts, taxes and expenses)

A spouse and issue*
Even if there are living parents or siblings - the spouse receives all personal chattels and HK$500,000.

After the deduction of HK$500,000, the residuary of the estate will be divided half to the spouse and the other half equally between the issue (including illegitimate children and formally adopted children of the deceased).

*Issue in succession law means the descendant of a person, such as children and grandchildren.

A spouse, parent/siblings
The spouse receives all personal chattels and HK$1,000,000.
After the deduction of HK$1,000,000, the residuary of the estate will be divided half to the spouse and the other half equally between the parents.
Siblings will only inherit the parents’ share if bother parents are not alive.
Parents/siblings can only have a share if the deceased left no issue.

Issue only
All to the surviving issue on statutory trust.

None
All to the Hong Kong Government as unowned property.


Before dealing with the deceased’s estate, a Grant of Letters of Administration must be obtained from the Probate Registry of the High Court. Individuals who are allowed to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration of the deceased’s estate are those set out in rule 21 of the Rules, in the following order of priority:

  1. A surviving spouse

  2. Children

  3. Parents

  4. Siblings

  5. Grandparents

  6. Uncles and aunts

Hong Kong law will apply to immovable property situated in Hong Kong, whereas for moveable property the court will look to the law of the domicile** of the deceased.

**Domicile under Hong Kong law is a complex issue. It is not the same as residence but is acquired at birth and can be changed only by adopting some other place as one’s long-term home. With the rather complicated intestacy rules, a will is desirable and a trust is better.

Only with a valid will or trust, your estate will be inherited exactly as planned.

There's nothing fun about contemplating your own mortality, which is why so many people don't make a will nor a trust. But death is traumatic enough for those left behind, so be prepared for life's only certainty.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal, financial or tax advice. UTGL makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.


This website may contain links to external websites that are not provided or maintained by or in any way affiliated with UTGL. Please note that the UTGL does not guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of any information on these external websites.


Links to external websites are provided as a courtesy and do not imply UTGL's endorsement of those sites or their content, products or services. UTGL assumes no liability for damages resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information provided herein.

Ready to get started?

Unlock the power of trust with UTGL today. Take the first step by exploring our Trust Platform or create an account for an instantly rewarding experience.

© 2024 UTGL. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal, financial or tax advice. UTGL makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.


This website may contain links to external websites that are not provided or maintained by or in any way affiliated with UTGL. Please note that the UTGL does not guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of any information on these external websites.


Links to external websites are provided as a courtesy and do not imply UTGL's endorsement of those sites or their content, products or services. UTGL assumes no liability for damages resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information provided herein.

Ready to get started?

Unlock the power of trust with UTGL today. Take the first step by exploring our Trust Platform or create an account for an instantly rewarding experience.

© 2024 UTGL. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal, financial or tax advice. UTGL makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.


This website may contain links to external websites that are not provided or maintained by or in any way affiliated with UTGL. Please note that the UTGL does not guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of any information on these external websites.


Links to external websites are provided as a courtesy and do not imply UTGL's endorsement of those sites or their content, products or services. UTGL assumes no liability for damages resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information provided herein.