Wills and Probate FAQ
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that sets out your wishes for the distribution of your assets after your death. It also allows you to appoint guardians for your children and pets, appoint executors to administer your estate, and more.
Do I need a Will?
Yes, you should have a Will if you are over the age of 18 and have assets that you wish to distribute after your death. You should highly consider writing a Will if you have children or pets who depend on you, have someone you want to exclude from your estate, have assets that you wish to distribute to specific people, or wish to donate to a charity.
What is a valid Will in Hong Kong?
A valid Will in Hong Kong must be in writing, signed by you in the presence of two independent witnesses, and signed by the two witnesses in your presence. The two witnesses must be over the age of 18 and cannot be beneficiaries of your Will.
What is the best way to do your Will?
How to make a Will:
- Decide who you want to give your assets to. This includes specific gifts as well as your overall estate (everything you own)
- Decide who you want to appoint as your executors. They will be the ones to execute your Will when the time comes and should be people close to you such as a spouse or family members.
- Decide who you want to appoint as guardians for your underage children and pets.
- Decide if you have any specific funeral or resting wishes.
- Engage a professional Will writing service to draft your Will.
- Sign your Will in the presence of two independent witnesses.
- Make a list of assets containing everything you own. This will greatly help your executors in locating what you own.
- Store your Will and related documents in a safe place.
- Notify you executors that you have chosen them and let them know where your Will is stored.
- Update your Will as needed.
How much does a Will cost in Hong Kong?
A Will in Hong Kong can cost anywhere from HK$1,500 to HK$100,000. The cost of a Will depends on the complexity of your estate and the service provider you choose. It is important to understand everything that is included in the price. Some providers may charge very little at face value, but will charge extra for more capabilities such as appointing guardians or backup beneficiaries. Fortunately, NobleWills sticks to flat fee packages that are easy to understand.
Can I write my own Will in Hong Kong?
Yes, you can write your own Will in Hong Kong. However, it is not recommended as there are many requirements that must be met for a Will to be valid. If you do not meet these requirements, your Will may be invalid and your estate may be distributed according to the Intestates’ Estates Ordinance.
It is therefore recommended to use a professional Will writing service to ensure that your Will is valid and your wishes are carried out.
What is a Mirror Will?
A Mirror Will is a Will that is made by a married couple. It is a pair of Wills that are almost identical, with each Will giving away their assets to the same beneficiaries.
What is an Executor?
An Executor is the person you appoint to administer your estate and carry out the wishes in your Will. The Executor will be responsible for collecting your assets, paying off any debts and distributing your estate to your beneficiaries.
What is a Beneficiary?
A Beneficiary is a person who will receive a gift from your estate. You can leave your assets to anyone you wish, including your spouse, children, family members, friends or charities.
What is a Guardian?
A Guardian is a person you appoint to take care of your underage children or pets if you pass away.
Who should I choose as guardians?
Your children's best interest is important, so choosing someone who may be close to them or know them well would be the best option. Things to consider when choosing a guardian include:
- Do my children get along with them?
- Would the guardian be able to manage having additional family members in their life?
- Would the children be able to live with the guardian or go to a boarding school?
- Could the children stay in the same school?
Did we mention that you can also appoint guardians for your pets? Make sure that all members of your family will be looked after.
What is a Trust?
A Trust is a legal arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a Beneficiary or Beneficiaries. The Trustee can be a person or a company. The Trustee will be responsible for managing the Trust assets and distributing them to the Beneficiaries according to the terms of the Trust.
What is a Letter of Wishes?
A Letter of Wishes is a non-binding document that accompanies your Will. It is a letter that sets out your wishes for the distribution of your estate and any other wishes you may have. It is not legally binding, but it is a useful way to provide guidance to your Executor and Trustees.
What is a digital asset?
A digital asset is an asset that exists in digital form. Examples include social media accounts, online wallets, online shopping accounts, online gaming accounts and cryptocurrency.
Can my spouse and I share one Will?
You can do a joint Will or mutual Will, however, we do not offer this and it is generally not recommended as it is prone to disputes. You can though, go through the Will process together on our online will service and receive a discount when you opt in to paying for both you and your spouse together.
What is mental capacity?
Mental capacity means that you are able to make your own decisions. You must be able to understand the nature of making a Will, the extent of your assets and the effect of making a Will etc. If you are unsure of whether you have the mental capacity to write a Will, we would recommend that you consult with a psychiatrist.
How do I know if I have mental capacity?
If you are unsure if you have mental capacity or if you are older in age, we would often recommend a consultation with a medical professional to help validate that you are capable of writing your Will.
Do you pay inheritance tax in Hong Kong?
As of February 2006, there is no inheritance tax in Hong Kong. This means that your beneficiaries will not have to pay any inheritance tax on the assets they receive from your estate when you pass away.
However, inheritance tax can still apply to you if you have citizenship or assets in countries that do have inheritance tax.
NobleWills specializes in cross-border estate planning and can help you best structure your estate.
Where should I keep my Will?
You should keep your Will in a safe place that is easily accessible by your Executor. Technically, you can keep your Will at home in a safe, however, there are many things to consider:
- Your Will cannot be folded or damaged in any way.
- Your Will should be kept in a fireproof safe.
- Your Executor should know where your Will is stored and have access to it.
- Your Will should be kept safe from the possibility of tampering
NobleWills offers a secured storage service for your Will that meets all of these requirements.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of proving that a Will is valid and that the Executor has the authority to administer the estate. The Executor will need to apply for a Grant of Probate from the High Court of Hong Kong. The Grant of Probate is a legal document that confirms the Executor's authority to administer the estate.
Should I write my Will with a law firm?
You can most certainly write your Will with a law firm, however, that is not required and the experience can often be time consuming and full of hidden fees. Our online Will service was created by lawyers with the goal of making Will writing far more straightforward, easier, and more affordable. NobleWills provides an alternative solution to the traditional approach of booking multiple in-person appointments, navigating fee sheets, and returning to pay more for every edit.