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DINK or DINKY Alert!

DINK or DINKY Alert!

DINK or DINKY Alert!

Friday, 10 September 2010 19:31

By Alfred Ip, Partner, Notary Public and CEDR Accredited Mediator

“Double Income No Kids” has been popular since the 80s, and a lot of high-earning couples who choose not to have children are therefore able to afford a more luxurious consumer lifestyle than those with children.Statistics show that, after 30 years, the number of DINK couples is still on the rise.

For those high net-worth couples, it is dangerous to assume that their spouses will inherit everything when they pass away, because in fact that is only the case in respect of their clothes, cuff-links, hang-bags and shoes!

According to Section 4 of the Intestates’ Estates Ordinance, if a person has no son/daughter but has a husband or wife and parents and siblings, the surviving husband or wife shall take:

i) personal chattels;

ii) HK$ 1,000,000; and

iii) half of the estate.

The rest of the estate will either go to the parents, or if they are not alive, to his/her siblings.

The situation would be even worse if the couples are not married or are not validly married, because the spouse’s entitlement would not be recognized by the Intestates’ Estates Ordinance, and the deceased’s parent or siblings will be entitled to the same. “Valid marriage” in Hong Kong means a marriage celebrated or contracted in accordance with the provisions of the Marriage Ordinance, a modern marriage validated by the Marriage Reform Ordinance, a customary marriage declared to be valid by the Marriage Reform Ordinance, or a marriage celebrated or contracted outside Hong Kong in accordance with the law in force at the time and in the place where the marriage was performed. De-facto marriages and same-sex marriages are not recognized as valid marriages in Hong Kong.

If you and your spouse have no children, but you have in-laws, you may have to share your spouse’s assets with them. If they pass away before your spouse, you will have to share your spouse’s estate with their sons and daughters.

Conclusion

Making a will is the responsible thing to do to make sure that your spouse or loved ones inherit what you leave behind.

This article is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and readers should not regard this article as a substitute for detailed advice in individual instances.