Becoming a parent is an amazing experience full of joy and fun. Though, there is the grownup side to think about as well. Do you know about probate registry, power of attorney, or estate planning? Leave no legal loose ends for your family so that you can enjoy your time together by making a will.
Thinking about writing your will isn’t the most happy of thoughts and many of us are guilty of procrastination when it comes to this topic (no judgement!). And yet, parents in this city are all too aware of the need to get their wills and guardianship papers in order. After all, having those formal documents will help you control how your money and belongings get distributed after your death and, most importantly, who will look after your kids if something happens to you (the last thing a grieving family needs is to have to deal with incomplete or non-existent paperwork).
If you are an expat living in Hong Kong for a short or longer period of time, you still need to make a will for so many important reasons. If this is one important item on your to-do list, we’ve rounded up some of the well-known will-writers and consultants, financial and wealth management companies, solicitors and law firms and will lawyers that you can approach if you need to make a will in Hong Kong.
Sassy Mama tip: While many of those mentioned below specialise in expat wills, it’s always good to check that any documents made will be valid in your home country (or your intended place of residence) upon leaving Hong Kong.
NobleWills – Easy, accessible and affordable will writing service in Hong Kong
If the thought of sorting out your will is too overwhelming, NobleWills can help by offering two will writing options that’ll take the pressure off. It aims to make creating your will more accessible, affordable, and easier to maintain. For a more affordable option, try the fully online will writing service, where you can choose to include a professionally printed estate planning pack with review by a will specialist. If you have international assets, or more generally complex estates, opt for the premium service where one of the will specialists will personally cater to you and the specific needs of your estate.
Sassy Mama readers can get 10% off the online service when using the code SASSYNOBLE at the checkout.
Will Consultants And Will-Writers In Hong Kong
Professional Wills Limited – For writing a will, guardianship, deed of temporary guardianship, enduring powers of attorney, wills storage, living wills
Professional Wills Limited will answer all your most pressing concerns and questions about making a will, including the difference between Living Wills and Last Wills and Testaments, and safe storage of wills. Certain terms that are used often while making a will such as executors, trustees, keyman insurance, Bona Vacantia (for all Brit expats) and intestacy are explained well on the website.
Phoenix Wills – Estate planning, guardianship, living wills, enduring power of attorney and more
Phoenix Wills has over 20 years of experience preparing wills for individuals, families and companies based in the Asia Pacific region (it comes well recommended by some Sassy Mamas in the office!). It has worked with clients with assets in different countries and is well-equipped to make this often-arduous task more pleasant. The team offers to meet potential clients in the comfort of their own home, or anywhere else convenient, and at flexible hours.
Carey Suen Will Services – Succession planning, trusts, digital wills, guardianship, cross-border planning
If you have a partner from a different country, children born in different countries, overseas assets or you intend to retire somewhere other than here, you need cross-border planning while writing a will in Hong Kong. It’s one of the specialities of Carey Suen Will Services. The company answers many questions such as civil partnerships, digital wills (regarding online presence and assets) and understanding inheritance tax for UK citizens.
Good Wills – Will writing, appointing executors and trustees, distribution of assets, finalising guardian(s) for children
Amy Kwan, a qualified solicitor in Australia and Hong Kong, believes that in many Asian countries, a will is seen as something that only the wealthiest or the eldest one in the family requires because it is only needed for the resolution of disputes. She launched Good Wills as a will writing and a will consulting service in Hong Kong and is striving to change that perception by listening to the clients and then helping to draft a will that is tailor-made to your needs and wishes to take care of their loved ones (including fur babies).
Harbour Wills – Multi-jurisdictional wills, guardianship, inheritance tax, living wills, lasting power of attorney, LGBT planning
Harbour Wills understands that expat wills are fairly complicated and all their advisers are experienced in dealing with clients across the APAC region, The company promises to help all families with estate planning and how best to preserve wealth and assets.
Wealth Management And Estate Planning Firms In Hong Kong
St. James’ Place Wealth Management – Estate planning, wills, family wealth management, enduring power of attorney, returning to the UK
St. James’s Place is a well-known wealth management company. One of the services offered in Hong Kong is Wills and Estate Planning. The company will help you not only to write a will but also to appoint guardians for your children, create an enduring power of attorney (to make sure the right people manage your money if you are in any way incapacitated) and draw up estate planning and family protection plans.
Taylor Brunswick Group – Multi-jurisdictional Will requirements, Estate planning, succession planning
Taylor Brunswick promises to find inexpensive solutions to your requirements for multi-jurisdiction wills with its strategic partnerships across the industry. It also offers customised financial advice that suits your personal needs.
Ernest Maude – Will writing, succession planning, family financial planning
Ernest Maude offers its individual and corporate clients tailored investment, property, pensions and insurance advice, including writing a will and succession planning. The company claims that it can help reduce costs of will writing and estate planning and discount the tax that your estate would otherwise pay.
Solicitors And Law Firms In Hong Kong
Hugill & Ip Solicitors – Managing global assets and cross-border asset management
With an increasingly global world, there are a large number of Asian and non-Asian families with assets spread all over the globe and anyone writing a will has to take that into account. Hugill & Ip Solicitors’ Estate Planning services focus on efficient cross-border asset management to alleviate the pain of this often cumbersome bureaucratic process.
Weir & Associates – Trust and estate planning, probate registry, will writing and pension planning
Though mainly known as a business law firm, with lawyers qualified to practise in various jurisdictions including Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Sri Lanka, Weir & Associates is well equipped to handle its private clients’ needs. These include Trust & Estate Planning, Probate, Preparing a Will and Pension Planning.
Other Law Firms For Writing A Will And Probate Registry In Hong Kong
- Tanner De Witt Solicitors — Wills, probate and trusts assistance, www.tannerdewitt.com
- Cheung & Yeung Solicitors — Wills, probate registry, distribution of family estate, family trusts and more, www.tannerdewitt.com
- JC Legal — Guardianship, cross-border legacy planning, probate and estate administration, www.jcco-hk.com
Read more: How To Raise Multicultural Kids In Hong Kong
Writing A Will In Hong Kong
With a large expat population, writing a will in Hong Kong is often a complicated and expensive process. Laws regarding marriage and/or civil partnerships, guardianship of minors, inheritance and tax liabilities are different across the world. Besides this, there are cultural nuances that go into making a will for divorced families, blended families and single-parent families, so you must be confident about your will writer, consultant or solicitor’s ability to factor this in. Wills and guardianship documents also need to be reviewed periodically and updated as your financial, marital and domicile status could change over the years.
If you have less complicated needs and don’t need multi-jurisdiction wills, you can look at Hong Kong-based and registered lawyers and solicitors who often offer the same service. Many of them don’t have websites and can be reached only by email or phone, but they are highly reputable, know the local laws well and will be able to help you draft your will. Be sure to speak to non-expat friends for recommendations.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2020 by Anita Balagopalan and updated in January 2022.