Making a will in Hong Kong

Making a Will in Hong Kong

You have assets and property in Hong Kong, and you want to arrange a will for your family in the future. Making a legal document such as a will is necessary in Hong Kong, because there are certain laws to indicate a person's wishes for distributing their assets and property after their death. The laws applicable to a will in Hong Kong are set out in the Wills Ordinance. This article will explain how to make and sign a will, what inheritance law is, how to contest a will, and how it can be revoked.

Reasons to making a will

The will gives each individual the opportunity to decide how their assets are distributed. You can draw up a will document by yourself, but it is better to ask a specialized legal aid for advice when discussing the division of assets, and how to make it from the start. The distribution of property after a person dies is carried out in accordance with the Inheritance Law Cap. 481 of the Laws of Hong Kong.

This law will help the Court to dictate how the assets will be distributed among certain family members. A will can specify how the assets will be inherited by the beneficiaries, and can state the deceased's choice regarding executors, and guardians to their children under the age of 18.

Writing a will in Hong Kong can be complicated, especially for someone who wants to make a special distribution for their assets. You can seek assistance in these matters through agencies that are experts in their fields if you find it difficult to arrange a will from the start.

Wills can change how assets are divided among relatives (other than as provided by state law) and allow individuals to also allocate some assets to non-necessary beneficiaries, such as friends or charities.

In these situations, where the deceased has not had the opportunity to leave a will, the assets are distributed in accordance with the Intestates' Estate Ordinance. This means that the spouse and descendants or descendants and siblings of the deceased can be entitled to inheritance.

You can draw up a will yourself or with an agency for a detailed explanation of which assets can be distributed, and adapt it to your case.

Signing a will

The will is only valid if it shows a true reflection of the deceased's wishes, must be left in writing and signed by the testator. To avoid further complications, the will must be written in Chinese or English. A will in Hong Kong will protect an individual's wishes and intentions, and can avoid the application of laws and regulations governing the distribution of inherited assets.

Making a will in Hong Kong

The Wills Ordinance provides important information about how to sign and testify a will to make it valid. There are four important conditions that you must pay attention to:

  1. The form and signing of the will must be done in writing either by the testator or another person, either with the person concerned present or according to their direction.
  2. Validation is done with the testator's signature, and the will can only be valid if the testator does intend to give a sign.
  3. Signing a will needs to be attended by more than 2 witnesses and present during the procedure.
  4. The witness has the duty to authenticate and sign his/her own will, or acknowledge that the testator's signature is witnessed by him/her, and does not need to submit this acknowledgment to other witnesses.

Witnesses may not be beneficiaries of the will. It is best for you to ask the agency for help regarding the requirements for appointing witnesses. The heir must understand and comply with legal formalities, so that the will can be valid and not be considered invalid due to non-compliance. A will must be dated before it is signed, and the testator has the right to change or revoke the will during his or her lifetime, and any changes must be signed by the testator.

A will that is executed according to the applicable provisions is valid without needing to be announced.

What is inheritance law in Hong Kong?

Inheritance laws in Hong Kong abolished estate tax in 2006 so there is no tax on gifts or wealth. Hong Kong laws apply equally to residents and non-residents and regardless of religion or gender. Therefore, there are no restrictions on who the deceased inherits property from, with the special condition that they are over 18 years old.

The main Hong Kong laws relating to inheritance and succession are: Wills Ordinance, Intestates' Estates Ordinance, Inheritance Ordinance, Probate and Administration Ordinance. Wills Ordinance is the main law relating to wills, contains the definition, types of a will, annulment, conditions for validity, etc. The Inheritance Ordinance allows the court to issue an order that the assets of a deceased person be given to certain members of the person's family and to certain dependents of the deceased person.

The Probate and Administration Ordinance is a law regarding probate and administration letters and how to handle the inheritance of deceased people through these letters. And matters relating to the distribution of intestates' estates are in the Intestates' Estates Ordinance.

How do I revoke a will?

The inheritance law in Hong Kong allows a person to revoke a will for several situations, such as marriage, the existence of another will, written revocation, and destruction. The testator can create another valid will document, and make the old will invalidated. A will may be revoked because of the testator's marriage, but it may also be that the testator wishes to marry and intends that the disposition will not be revoked.

Without a will, how will the inheritance be inherited?

A will can be revoked by means of a written and legally signed revocation, or the testator chooses to destroy the document, either directly or by ordering another person in front of him with the intention of revoking the will.

A will cannot be revoked simply on the assumption that such intention existed. You can ask the agency for a more detailed explanation about what situations allow someone to revoke a will, and are there conditions where the will still exists even though there are conditions such as the testator remarrying or so on.

What is the procedure for making a will in Hong Kong?

If the heirs are dissatisfied with their relatives' decision to inherit the inheritance, they have the possibility of making a will in Hong Kong. To distribute the property of an individual with or without a will, you must obtain a Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry of the High Court of Hong Kong. This document can be used by a certain individual to have authority to distribute the assets of the deceased.

A person's heirs can raise legal grounds to contest a will, if they have been denied their right to their inheritance and believe they have been wronged or if its provisions do not satisfy them. Some of the most common reasons for contesting a will in Hong Kong are lack of testamentary capacity (the testator was not yet 18 years old when created the will, or elderly individuals who do not have the capacity to execute the will), the will was not executed properly, lack of number of witnesses, fraud or forgery.

If you believe that the will that has been made is not in accordance with the law, you can ask an expert to analyze the case and determine the legal grounds for contesting a will.

The importance of taking care of a will requires you to study it in detail, as well as an agency that is ready to help you with processing a will, understanding the laws that apply in Hong Kong, or important matters such as revoking or contesting a will. SMEBrother is the solution for careful follow-up throughout the entire process: We have professional teams from Hong Kong and Mainland China who are familiar with inheritance matters and can help you successfully inherit your inheritance. You can ask us about anything related to wills, and SMEBrother team is always ready to take care of your will needs.