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Hong Kong - Wills

There are many reasons why you might want or need to make a will while you are living in Hong Kong. An attorney experienced with wills and estates should be consulted in this matter, although simple wills can also be created without the aid of an attorney, too, in some cases.

A will should be an up-to-date statement of your wishes in regards to your assets after your death. In some cases, a husband and wife might have separate wills with a joint statement if they have children and want to appoint a guardian in the event that they both pass on at the same time. Other times, the husband and wife might have one will with the expectations that if one spouse passes away, the other will inherit the assets.

Your will is intended to clarify your assets, where they are located, your intended beneficiaries, and how your estate should be disposed of. An attorney can generate an explicit, legally binding document and offer explanation and advice along the way.

Even if you already have a will in your home country, you might decide to create one that is country specific. Many people feel more comfortable having a will for each country where they have assets. This can make the liquidation of the assets quicker. Having a will in Hong Kong can also make the matter of appointing a guardian for your surviving children easier and faster.

The cost of creating a will varies and is dependent upon how complicated the will itself is. A simple one with few instructions and no pre-meetings might cost as little as HK$200 to create. A complex one that lists properties around the world and foreign bank accounts with multiple beneficiaries could be significantly more.

There are a few necessary items that your will should include, even if it is not a complicated one. This includes your burial wishes, any aliases you might have, your Hong Kong ID and passport numbers, the full names of your executor beneficiaries, and any instructions on the division of your assets. Instructions might include how your assets will be handled if both spouses pass away, one spouse passes away, or if the entire family passes away. They should also include the person or persons who will act as guardians to your children if both the parents pass away. If the children are less than 18 years of age then a trustee should be appointed to oversee their assets and you should decide when those assets will be transferred and managed.

If you already have a will in your native country, then you can possibly have it endorsed in Hong Kong without the need to create a new one. In the event of your death, your will would then go to court and obtain probate in your native country and then be brought to Hong Kong. This might differ from one country to another, however, so seeking the legal advice from someone who understands not only your wishes but the relationship between your native country and Hong Kong is important.

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