News

Administration of Estates in Hong Kong

Administration of Estates in Hong Kong

Administration of Estates in Hong Kong

Thursday, 16 September 2010 15:06

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

In Hong Kong, it is an offence to deal with the estate of a deceased person which is not set out in the schedule annexed to a grant made in respect of the estate, and thus it is necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration from the Hong Kong Court, either by submitting an application or resealing a grant from approved jurisdiction.


Grant of Probate
Grant of Probate is usually issued when a deceased leaves a will.

An application for a Grant of Probate can be made by the executor of the will. The executor will make an affidavit in support of the application, and another affidavit detailing the deceased's estate in Hong Kong, by completing the appropriate forms prescribed by the Probate Registry in Hong Kong.

The following documents are also necessary for the application, which will be retained by the Probate Registry and usually not be returned:

  1. Original Will;
  2. Death Certificate; and
  3. Proof of Identity, such as copy HKID Card.


Letters of Administration
For people who die without leaving a will, the next of kin of a deceased can apply for Letters of Administration to administer the deceased's estate. Depending on the domicile of the deceased, there is a priority of next of kin who can make such an application.

In the same way, as an application for Grant of Probate, the applicant for Letters of Administration will make an affidavit in support of the application, and another affidavit detailing the deceased's estate in Hong Kong, by completing the appropriate forms prescribed by the Probate Registry in Hong Kong.

If there is any minor beneficiary entitled to the estate, two administrators are necessary for the application.

The following documents are also necessary for the application, which will be retained by the Probate Registry and usually not be returned:-

  1. Death Certificate
  2. Document proving relationship between the applicant and the deceased, such as birth certificate or marriage certificate; and
  3. Proof of Identity, such as copy HKID Card.


Estate Administration for Foreign Deceased
In the event that the deceased died overseas, the Death Certificate must be duly authenticated and apostilled or legalized.

If the deceased was not domiciled in Hong Kong, an affidavit of legal opinion from an attorney practicing law in the jurisdiction where the deceased was domiciled is often necessary.

Overseas Executor

If the executor/intended administrator does not ordinarily reside in Hong Kong, it is desirable to appoint an attorney in Hong Kong to deal with the less-than-straightforward application process. It is also desirable to have an attorney administering the estate by liquidating the assets in Hong Kong and distributing the same to the beneficiaries in accordance with their entitlements.

If no attorney is appointed in Hong Kong, the Probate Registry may issue the grant subject to the provision of surety guarantees by two Hong Kong residents guaranteeing the due administration of the estate.

Resealing of Foreign Grant
"Resealing" is to have a Grant of Probate from another jurisdiction confirmed by the Hong Kong Court and treat it as being issued by the same.

A grant of probate can be done by way of resealing if one has already been obtained to administer the deceased's estate from one of the following jurisdictions:-

  1. the Australian States of Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia and the Northern Territory of Australia;
  2. New Zealand;
  3. Singapore;
  4. Sri Lanka; and
  5. United Kingdom


The process is comparatively more straightforward and can be dealt with as soon as the original grant from one of the above jurisdictions is issued.

The Probate Registry in Hong Kong would require the following documents:

  1. Death Certificate certified by the issuing authority;
  2. Full copy original Grant of Probate certified by the issuing court;
  3. Certified Copy identification documents of the deceased and the executor/administrator; and
  4. An inventory of the assets in Hong Kong.


Tax and Fee
Inheritance tax or Estate Duty has been abolished in Hong Kong since 11th February 2006, and no estate duty will be payable for estates of deceased persons dying after that date.

There is a court fee of HK$337.00 for granting probate or letters of administration.

What OLN can do for you?
With extensive experience and a global network of lawyers, accountants and other professionals, OLN holds clients' hand through the above process, which most people find mundane and pedantic:-

  1. Locating assets under the Estate;
  2. Obtaining authenticated public documents worldwide;
  3. Preparing documents for the application of probate/letters of administration;
  4. Submitting application as attorney for overseas clients;
  5. Collecting and liquidating assets for clients; and
  6. Distributing assets to beneficiaries.



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.


Contact the author or download contact details