A Will Doesn’t Just Protect Your Assets

A Will Doesn’t Just Protect Your Assets

A Will Doesn’t Just Protect Your Assets 1277 678 Alfred Ip
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Will Ripley and Alfred Ip discuss some of the different implications that estate planning and Wills can cover: from funeral arrangements to the distribution of your memorabilia, but especially regarding provisions related to the well-being of your children.

They also talk about Enduring Power of Attorney and Advanced Health Directive as important elements of your estate planning.

Visit our Wills of Concern campaign to find out more about how we are raising funds for AIDS Concern by writing wills for donations until end of 2019.

Will Ripley和Alfred Ip討論了遺產和遺囑的不同含義:從葬禮安排到個人物品的繼承均包括在內,同時亦可包括有關照顧未成年子女的安排,他們亦提及將持久授權書和預設醫療指示等重要內容。

由即日起至2019年12月31日我們會以撰寫遺囑為關懷愛滋籌款。欲知詳情請參閱Wills of Concern。



Will Ripley
When you’re drafting a Will, you say how important it is to really be specific, not only when you’re talking about your assets but even things like your funeral arrangements.


Alfred Ip
Yes, you can do that. You can say if you want your body to be cremated or buried or you can even name where you want to be buried, of course subject to how one’s going to find a burial plot, because in Hong Kong it’s actually very difficult to find burial plots. The only thing is that we don’t advice our clients to make it too complicated, because assets do change from time to time, for example today you have a watch, tomorrow you might have gifted this to somebody else and that would cause confusion and you don’t want to have the Will to be reviewed every five years or something like that.

沒錯,可以的, 也可以列明你想將遺體火化或是埋葬甚至可以指明埋葬的地點,不過當然必須先找到墓地,這在香港比較困難。不過我們一般建議客人不要把遺囑寫得太複雜因為資產會隨著時間改變今天你有一隻手錶,明天你可能把它送給別人這樣便容易造成混亂一般人不會想每五年重新寫一次遺囑。

Will Ripley
So what are you supposed to do? How do you avoid that?


Alfred Ip
To make it as general as possible and, if there is any specific instruction, all you can do is to have a second document like a Letter of Wishes. It’s not part of the Will and it’s not a legal document, but it gives directions to the executor who’s going to handle your estate on how to distribute some of your memorabilia, some things of sentimental value, to the people you intend to be benefitting from it.


Will Ripley
So actually the Will itself should be a bit more general and then if you have specific instructions, that’s a separate document entirely.


Alfred Ip
Yes, I think so. The Will should be only reviewed upon life events, for example if you get married or you get divorced or you lose some of the family members. If there are substantial changes to the circumstances. Yes, that’s the time to revise!


Will Ripley
What about if you have young children?


Alfred Ip
For young children is particularly important for a Will to be in place. On top of it – because you want to have someone to look after them in case you cannot look after them anymore and they’re young – so you have to appoint a guardian, but it is not advisable to put it in the Will because you don’t want your guardian to assert guardianship through your Will which will be probated together with a list of assets and liabilities.  It is better to have it as a separate document – called Deed of Appointment of Guardianship – appointing someone as a permanent guardian or probably someone as a temporary guardian as well, to look after them and then in your Will you’ll have a trustee to look after your family wealth for their benefit until they attain a certain age.


Will Ripley
Obviously nobody ever expects to be in a horrific accident or go into a coma or have an illness where they are not going to be able to make their own decisions, but where does a Living Will come into play?


Alfred Ip
Unfortunately in Hong Kong there’s no such a thing as a Living Will. Living Will is a very very common concept in some Western countries, but in Hong Kong the closest thing that we have is an Enduring Power of Attorney. The document provides an attorney to look after your financial affairs when you are under. That has to be prepared in a stipulated form and signed in front of a lawyer and a medical practitioner and it has to be registered at the High Court before it will be having legal effect. But this has nothing to do with your general welfare. If you want to appoint someone to make a decision in case you are under, then the closest that you can do is to have an Advanced Health Directive, but yet this is not a legal document so there is a possibility the doctor may not follow the instructions. And, even if they follow the instructions, it is very limited. It is only about whether you want to receive life sustaining treatment, which is very very limited compared with whether you want to receive a surgery or other decisions that sometimes have to be decided on the spot and you cannot appoint somebody to make this decision for you, no matter how close that person is to you.


Will Ripley
Bottom line: you need to be prepared! If there’s a Will, there’s a way.


Alfred Ip
Correct. If there’s a Will, there’s a way!


Alfred Ip

Alfred assists high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in handling their wealth-related issues, such as contentious and non-contentious trust and probate, mental capacity, family office, amongst other wealth management matters. He is also a leading Dispute Resolution lawyer with over 20 years of experience in Hong Kong. Moreover, Alfred helps clients with issues regarding Family Law.

All articles by : Alfred Ip
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