|When should I make a
||It is advisable to
make a Will if :-
- you are over the age of 18
- you have valuable
properties/assets registered in your own name;
- you have spouse and/or
children but you want to make specific gifts to some of them; or
- you would soon embark on
hazardous activities/work or you have now been engaging in such
|How should I start
preparing a Will ?
- Consult your lawyer.
- Copy documents
of identities :-IDs/passports of yourself, Executor/Executrix,
Guardian (to take care of minors) & Beneficiaries. Their
addresses and contact phone numbers will be useful but not
documentary proof of your important properties/assets (eg.
house, fixed deposits etc) in Hong Kong and overseas.
- If you wish to sign the Will
outside lawyer's office outside office hours, find an
independent witness (who should not be one of the Beneficiaries
or his/her spouse).
- You may make a Will for each
country/juridiction if you have assets in each
country/jurisdiction. We shall make sure that each Will will be
valid in that country/jurisdiction even though there is time
difference in making such Wills.
|Do I have to find a
doctor before I sign the Will ?
- You must have the necessary
testamentary capacity and intent when you sign the Will.
- Generally a doctor is not
required to be present unless you propose to sign the Will inside a
hospital or unless you have an illness relating to the mind/brain.
A psychiatrist report on your mental capacity would be
|Do I have to make
provision for the house which is registered in joint names ?
- If the house is registered
as joint tenants, then you do not need to make provision in the
Will for this house, since the house will be passed to the
surviving joint tenant under the law of survivorship.
- If the house is registered
as tenants-in-common, then your own share in this house will be
passed under your Will to whomever beneficiary(ies) named by you
in the Will.
- If you are uncertain as to
the nature of ownership of the house, consult your lawyer &
conduct a full land search.
|Do I have to revise
& make another Will later ?
- A Will only takes effect
upon death and if you do nothing, it will be effective upon
- If after making a Will, you
marry, then the previous Will (made before marriage) is revoked
upon your marriage. You must therefore make a fresh Will.
- A Will can be revoked from
time to time. If circumstances have changed such that you wish
to make new gifts or to revise the gifts, then you should make a fresh Will/Codicil.
- Please note that a later
Will usually revokes all previous Wills. You must be careful
whether you want to revoke all previous Will(s) and make a
completely new Will.
- If one loses mental capacity
to such an extent that one no longer understands what one is
doing, then the Will (made before loss of mental capacity)
cannot be revised/revoked any further and it will stand as one's
Can I make a Will
without a lawyer ?
Theoretically you can make a
home-made Will yourself if you clearly know the succession law
and you have 2 qualified witnesses to attest your Will
But the case law has become
very complicated that you should avoid doing a home-made Will,
since a home-made Will may be declared by the court as invalid.
If anything goes wrong
(signatures at the wrong place and/or wrong time), no one can
speak on your behalf at the very critical moment (usually
in court when the validity of a Will is challenged).
By the way, legal fees for
preparing a formal Will is relatively small when compared to the
size & importance of your total wealth.
What happens if a
Will is declared to be invalid ?
If there is a
that Will may be declared as the last Will (assuming
that it can be successfully proved in court).
If there is no other Will,
then the estate is devolved under intestacy
(ie as if no Will has been made at all). Provisions as to
distribution and priorities can be found in the Intestates'
Estates Ordinance, Cap. 73 of the Laws of HK.
If there is no valid Will
and if no one qualifies as a beneficiary under the
intestacy, then the estate will go to the Government's Treasury.