Upon an individual’s death, his or her assets (known as the estate) must be processed through probate. Essentially, probate is the management and/or distribution of the estate according to the deceased’s will (if one exists, if not under the applicable probate rules) in the accordance with the laws of Hong Kong.
Without a valid proven will, it is assumed the deceased died intestate. The estate is then managed and/or distributed by an administrator appointed by the court. The court usually appoints an administrator who has applied for appointment, usually a beneficiary of the estate or family member of the deceased.
Where a valid will exists, a solicitor must confirm whether the deceased has appointed someone to act as executor of the estate. If an executor is appointed, the individual must be advised and should have the opportunity to decline the appointment. An individual agreeing to the appointment must decide whether to act personally or to appoint a solicitor to act on their behalf. ￼
Our solicitors are well-versed in the rules of Probate and understand the important questions that must be answered in estate administration, such as:
- Has the death been registered?
- Has a death certificate been obtained?
- Has the funeral been arranged?
- Has the funeral account been received?
- If the deceased has dependant family, do they have sufficient financial resources for their immediate needs?
- Do any mortgage payments need to be kept up or does rent need to be paid?
- Do other debts need to be paid immediately?
We advise all parties in possession of papers relating to the estate, such as bank statements, business accounts, receipts for medical expenses, income tax returns, to provide these papers to the Executor, as they are essential to analyzing matters of probate.