When somebody passes away, his/her family members would need to get the legal right to deal with his/her property, money and possessions. We call this the ‘estate’.
You may be able to apply for a ‘grant of representation’, known as ‘probate’.
You can apply yourself or use a solicitor or just do it yourself. Since probate is a legal process, it is desirable to retain a solicitor to handle the probate application for you and to give you legal advice. Mistakes may result in unnecessary delay on your application and hence administration of the assets.
- Check if there is a will. A will will tell who would be the “executor”.
- An executor is the legal representative to handle the probate application. If there’s no will the next of kin can apply most likely would be the surviving spouse.
- Apply to get a ‘grant of representation’ which would give the executor the legal right to access things like the person’s bank account.
- A grant of representation is a legal document prepared and issued by the court proving the person entitled to process the administration of the deceased assets.
Any Estate Duty or Inheritance Tax ?
No in Hong Kong, if the deceased passed away on or after 11 February 2006.
Administration of the Estate
- Administration takes place after receipt of the grant of representation. This means: Collect the estate’s assets, eg money from the sale of the person’s property.
- Pay any debts, eg unpaid utilities bills.
- Distribute the estate - this means giving any property, money or possessions to the people entitled to it (‘beneficiaries’).
A grant of representation can sometimes be known as a ‘grant of probate’, ‘letters of administration’ or ‘letters of administration with a will’.
Joint tenant property does not require a grant of representation
A grant is not required if the property is owned joint names as joint tenancy. It automatically passes to the surviving person on the death of the deceased and on proof of the death by a death certificate.