Probate Guidelines in Hong Kong

Probate Guidelines in Hong Kong

Making a will for your family is an important thing to do because it can ensure that your assets can be distributed according to your wishes without interference from other people. But making a will has its own laws, including in Hong Kong. For those of you who live in Hong Kong and want to know about wills, you can read this article until the end. This time we will discuss probate guidelines that you can use to find out several things about wills, things about probate, and whether you can manage the will until it is valid.

What is the meaning of probate in Hong Kong?

Probate means a gift under the seal of the court which authorizes the appointed executors to manage the testator's assets. Probate is the administration of a deceased state by submitting an application to the Hong Kong Probate Registry to determine whether or not the will of a deceased person exists. The legal right to deal with the deceased's estate is the 'grant of representation'. Arranging permission for a deal with the estate depends on whether or not there is a will, and whether the person in the will is willing to accept it themselves or wants it to be managed by someone other than themselves.

Is probate required in Hong Kong?

Probate is required for handling the deceased's estate. The person entitled to the will must have a Grant of Probate, while families who wish to manage the deceased's estate without a valid will can arrange a Grant of Representation so that the High Court can manage it in accordance with existing law. This is a legal process to manage the deceased's assets as long as the will is proven to be valid, until the property can be transferred to the beneficiaries of the will.

In terms of probate guidelines in administering inherited assets, if the deceased left a Will, the executor appointed in the Will has the role of managing the deceased's inheritance. If the deceased dies without a will, then another person will take the role according to legal priority. Your lawyer can advise you about who has priority in administering the estate based on intestacy law. It is the Probate Court that will determine this.

Probate Guidelines in Hong Kong

The Executor of the Will should then arrange to obtain an official death certificate, and if possible to obtain birth/marriage certificates from the family members concerned as proof of identity and relationship.

If the person dies overseas leaving inherited assets either in Hong Kong or overseas, the procedures to be followed will depend on whether the country in which the person was domiciled when he or she died (and where the inherited assets that are not in Hong Kong are located) has a reciprocal legal process recognition relationship with Hong Kong.

How long does probate take in HK?

Probate takes a different amount of time in each case. If it's a simple case like there's a will that directly appoints one name to receive assets, or something similar, it usually takes about 5 to 7 weeks to process. Sometimes an inheritance will encounter something complicated, discussing many things about the rights and obligations of the deceased's person or how the recipient will receive their share of assets. The length of probate will be longer than average time.


Making a Will in Hong Kong


What often happens which makes probate processing take a long time is the size or complexity of the estate, and if the deceased's assets are outside Hong Kong. Reading probate guidelines like this is very important for executors, because it is the most important advice for you to take useful steps when processing a will.

How long after probate is granted?

It depends on the case and how complex the assets owned by the deceased's person are. Any straightforward case will also take months, because the High Court also needs to ensure complete data on the estate and property, then what the contents of the will are, such as its authenticity, and check whether there has been a revocation or challenge from someone in recent times.

There is no time limit for processing a grant of probate, but you should immediately arrange a Grant of Probate or Grant of Representation before someone asks questions about the deceased's assets. If you are someone mentioned in the will, but you don't want to go to the High Court to take care of it, you can ask the agency or solicitor to take care of this, so that it complies with the probate guidelines and you can still receive the inheritance according to what is written in the will.

What if a beneficiary dies before receiving his inheritance?

If your descendants are the beneficiaries of your inheritance and they pass away before you, then in accordance with section 23 of the Wills Ordinance (Cap. 30), the descendants of his/her own descendant(s) will take over the assets that you should transfer for your fallen descendant. Or you can add back cup arrangements when you make a will or have an alternate beneficiary, by appointing someone else in the family besides your daughter if one day your daughter dies before you.

Everything is regulated in the Wills Ordinance, so you have to study carefully what you have to take care of, what are the requirements for the validity of a will, and what if there are special cases after the will is valid. Having a solicitor or agency to advise you on your Will will be very important, so that you don't take the wrong steps in making your will, or one day if you want to change or revoke your will. 

Do you feel overwhelmed by everything related to wills? SMEBrothers will help you with everything related to wills starting from the procedures for making a will, how we manage a will, what are the requirements for making a will, who has the right to be a witness when you make a will, what is in the Wills Ordinance, problems your assets outside or inside Hong Kong, etc.

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Services include: 

Estate Survey and Assessment: A comprehensive survey and assessment of the estate will be conducted to ensure that all assets and liabilities are clear. 

Legal process guidance: A professional legal team will assist you in completing various legal procedures required for cross-border inheritance distribution to ensure that everything is legal and compliant.

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 break cross-border barriers and successfully inherit your inheritance.