Estate Planning in Hong Kong: Steps That Every Property Owner Should Take

Why would I need to go through estate planning when I am broke? Isn’t that for wealthy people only?

The answer to the last question is a resounding NO!

Estate planning is not just for those who have the properties and assets to distribute. There are more than one reasons to go through this. Remember, you will not be broke forever – unless, of course, you want to give up and stay that way. Most women have remarkably resilient spirits – especially when they have children and loved ones relying on them. It is impossible for you to stay broke. No matter how hard your present circumstances are, you will rise from your current situation. By the time you pass on, it is possible that your finances have gone from being broke to being abundant.

Believe it or not, this is something that all of us should look into – what would happen when I die? While we do not want to think about death, this is a reality that a lot of us will face. It seems like an ominous thought but a necessary contemplation for everyone – regardless of your financial situation. We cannot remove the fact that death is a certainty for everyone. It is a destination that all of us will go through.

According to an article published on the Global Property Guide website, a will is something that you need to do voluntarily. You have to remember that you will not always be present to make the decisions about yourself and the things that you will leave behind. It is important that you make arrangements for these because you might force other people to make the decision for you. The thing is, they might not have your best interests at heart.

In Hong Kong, the absence of estate planning will force your assets and properties to be shared according to the Intestate’s Estates Ordinance. If this happens, you might not end up agreeing with the way things are decided. Of course, you will no longer be able to have your say at this point. Your loved ones might not get what you intended for them.

 Estate Planning in Hong Kong: Steps That Every Property Owner Should Take

How to plan your will in Hong Kong

To ensure that your intentions will be followed, you should just plan your will as early as possible. Here are the steps that you need to follow.

Find a professional to help you.

A professional executor is important. This is the person who will manage your assets and properties when you are no longer able to do it yourself. The best executor is one who you trust and yet is not a part of your beneficiaries. A trusted friend, a lawyer, or anyone whom you trust will follow through with your will.

Choose who you want to decide for your health in case you are completely incapacitated.

Sometimes, accidents will leave you still alive, but unable to decide for yourself. If you are relying on life support or in a coma, you want to have someone make the right health-related decisions for you. The best person for this job is someone who knows your history and your will to fight for your life. Your husband, partner, or children are usually the best candidate. If your parents are still alive and are still mentally strong, they can also decide for you. You have to choose which of them will make health-related decisions on your behalf. You need to give them a special power of attorney so they can make these decisions for you.

Determine who you want to handle your finances.

Apart from the executor, you can assign someone who will handle your finances. Sometimes, this might not be the same person you will trust with your health. If you are still alive and yet incapacitated, this person will make sure the bills are paid, etc. It is possible for you to assign more than one person to do this – especially if you are an entrepreneur. A special power of attorney is also needed here.

Name a guardian for your children.

This is the reason why you need estate planning regardless if you are broke, or you are still young. You may not have the assets, properties, or valuable equities to pass on – but you still need to make arrangements for your children. This is especially true if they are still young. You need to choose guardian – if not, the government will do it for you. The decision may not be to your liking. You can choose a guardian that you can trust will raise your children with the same values and methods as you.

Identify your beneficiaries.

These are the people who will benefit from whatever material possessions that you will accumulate from now on. When you buy a house, a car, or jewelry, all of these will go to your beneficiaries. You may want to ensure that you will give your loved ones what they need and deserve. It is not just about the value of what you will leave them. It is more of leaving a part of yourself for them to own until they too pass on.

Update your will as needed.

The final step that you need to do, and a recurring one, is to update your assets. As long as there is a significant change in your assets, properties, and relationships, you need to update your will. This will ensure that the trustworthy people you have chosen during the initial estate planning will still be relevant in your life.

Planning your will at an early age does not mean you are welcoming death. You are just making sure that whatever you will leave behind will be in order. Sometimes, even those who have a will still end up with feuding beneficiaries – like the story of the Nan Fung family. Regardless if you will end up with billions before you die, your family should not fall apart just because you did not go through the proper estate planning steps. Save them from the heartache and possibility of a feud.

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