FAQ on Wills


What is a will?

A will is a legal document you use to leave property to close family members, friends, or charities.

What can I do with a Will?
In your will, you would be called as the Testator:
  • you name beneficiaries to inherit your property,
  • an executor to wrap up your estate, and
  • guardians to care for your young children.
  • you can set up a trust for money inherited by children.
  • you can also forgive debts owed to you.
  • state how you want your debts, expenses, and taxes to be paid.
When to Make a New Will ?
An existing will can be replaced/revoked by a new will. People make a new will because of the following possible reasons:-
  • having just got married. Marriage revokes all earlier wills. No will may be needed. You want to add your spouse to be a new beneficiary or make him/her as an executor.
  • separation with the spouse, divorced or spouse's death. You want to remove the spouse from the beneficiary list.
  • having a new child. You want it to add him/her as a new beneficiary.
  • having a big fortune e.g. inheritance, mark-six lottery winning. You want to redivide your assets.
Legal costs on a Will?
$1000 to $3000 depending on complexity.

What information do I need to make my will?
It will be easier to make your will if you have gathered some information first:
  • choices for executor. You can have one or two executors.
  • names of beneficiaries -- people benefiting from your property. Beneficiaries are usually your loved ones.
  • alternate beneficiaries -- people who will inherit your property if your first-choice beneficiary dies before you (ie predecease).
  • if you have young children, a list of your first and second choices for guardian.
  • an inventory of your property (but if you plan to leave everything to one or a few beneficiaries in a specified share or division, you can skip this)
How long will it take to make my will?
You could make a very basic will in just a few minutes. Find some time to think about your wishes and make your will.

What do I do with my completed will?
We shall give the completed will to you after you have signed it and witnessed by two witnesses (one being a solicitor) provided by us. Beneficiaries should not be a witness. Store this original document in a safe place, such as a bank safety box.

Can I make copies of my completed will?
It's fine to give a copy of your will to your executor or other loved ones eg beneficiaries under the will for informational purposes.

Do not sign more than one copy of the will. Doing so creates more than one original document and could cause confusion after your death.

What other estate planning documents might I need?
In addition to a will, you might consider making: a living trust (whose main advantage is to avoid probate court proceedings after your death) and a power of attorney (to allow a trusted person to arrange your financial affairs if you cannot).

Is it safe to make a will without a lawyer?
Home-made wills are common in Western countries. Because a will is a very important document, a will prepared by a lawyer will be more safe. It is cheap and convenient to prepare a will in Hong Kong.

Is a simple will enough for me?
It's always fine to make a simple will. Simplicity will create the least uncertainty. But there are some situations in which you may need more than a simple will and should get expert advice or, at the least, investigate your options. For example:
  • If you anticipate family fights, see a lawyer for advice on how to stave off bad feelings and legal battles.
  • If you want to set up a long-term trust for a child with special needs.


Person entitled to receive assets from a testator/testatrix's estate.

Specific item left to someone under a Will - e.g. an item of jewelry, a painting, etc.

Term used to generally describe testator/testatrix's possessions, assets and affairs on death.

Male person appointed to handle the testator/testatrix’s affairs on death. Female person appointed is called Executix.

Amount of money left to someone under a Will. Person left an amount of money under a Will is called Legatee.

Remainder of assets once any specific bequests, legacies, expenses, etc have been paid. More often, it is called Residuary Estate.

Male person making a Will. Female person making a Will is called Testatrix.

Another term used for the Executor holding assets in trust for a beneficiary of the Will.

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