Hong Kong Inheritance Lawyer: How to Apply for a Probate / Letters of Administration in Hong Kong

What is Probate? What is Letters of Administration? What is grant?

Probate is a legal documents issued by the Probate Registry of the High Court of HKSAR to appoint a person or persons named in the Will as executor to administer the estate of the deceased disposed in the Will.

Letters of Administration is a legal documents issued by the Probate Registry of the High Court of HKSAR to appoint a person or persons to act as the administrator of the estate of the deceased who did no leave a will or did not appoint an executor in the will.

A grant is a general term which can be used to refer to either a probate or a Letters of Administration, depending on the the context.

Can a beneficiary of the deceased’s estate deal with the estate without obtaining a grant?

No person can deal with the estate of the deceased after knowing its death.  The banks / security brokers or other institutions holding the estate should and usually will freeze the estate after knowing the death the account holder pending a probate or Letters of the Administration being applied for and issued by the Probate Registry of the High Court.  After a probate is granted by the Probate Registry to a person or persons (executor or administrator), the executor or administrator will then be entitled to dealing with the estate.

Who can administer the estate of a deceased who died without leaving a will (intestate)

Only the person appointed as an administrator by the Probate Registry of the court can administer the estate.  If a person intend to be appointed as an administrator to administer the estate, she/he need apply to the Probate Registry of the High Court for such appointment ( for a grant).

What is the priority order for being appointed as an administrator of the estate of a deceased without leaving a will (intestate)?

Under Hong Kong law, the priority order shall be as follows:- (1)  Spouse;  (2)  Children; (3) Parents; (4)  Siblings or issues to predeceased siblings; (5) Grandparents; (6) Uncles or aunts or issues to predeceased uncles or aunts; (7) Official Administrator; (8) Creditors.

However, if the deceased was not domiciled in Hong Kong at the death, Hong Kong law may not apply for movable estate. Instead, the law of the deceased’s domicile place will apply to determine the priority order.

Who can administer the estate of a deceased who died leaving a valid will?

If an executor was appointed in the will, the executor named there should be the right person to apply to the Probate Registry to be the executor of the will. If the Probate Registry approves such application by issuing a probate, the executor will be entitled to administer the deceased’s estate.

If no executor was appointed in the will, or if the executor appointed in the will refuses to act as executor or incapable of acting as executor of the will, the Probate Registry can appoint an administrator to administrate the deceased’s estate.

What should an Executor or Administrator do to administrate the deceased’s estate?

After being appointed as executor or administrator of the estate, the executor or administrator will be entitled to administering the estate.  The executor or administrator’s duties include mainly:- (1) to locate the whereabouts and amount of the estate; (2) to maintain and safeguard the value and safety of the estate; (3) to pay debt, tax and other expenses out of the estate; (4) to distribute the estate to the beneficiaries according to the law and/or the deceased’s will.

Must I engage a Hong Kong solicitor for the application of a probate?  Can I do it myself?

In law it is not compulsory that you must engage a Hong Kong probate lawyer for the application. However, you are strongly advised to do so, especially in circumstances where:-  (1) the deceased was not domiciled in Hong Kong (was not a Hong Kong resident);  (2) the amount of estate is huge;  (3) you are not resident in Hong Kong and you are not convenient to come to Hong Kong for the matter frequently; (3) there are disputes among the interested parties for the estate.

Should you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact us, a Hong Kong law firm for a consultation.



Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Name (required)

Email (will not be published) (required)

Website