Grants of Probate

Grants of Probate 1601 898 Alfred Ip
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Alfred Ip discusses Grants of Probate and the application process (including the estimated time to obtain a grant) and the role of an executor/administrator of an estate. He also highlights the upsides of having a Will to streamline the probate process, allowing beneficiaries to access the estate more easily.


00:08 What is a Grant?
00:48 Who should apply for a Grant?
01:25 How to apply for a Grant?
02:27 How long does it take to apply for a Grant?
02:52 What is the role of an Executor/Administrator?
03:20 The importance of making a Will

Grants of Probate

What is a Grant?

A “Grant” is effectively a court order authorising another person to handle the assets of a deceased person.

According to section 60J of Probate and Administration Ordinance, Cap. 10, it is an offence if any person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, deals with any part of the estate of a deceased person which is not set out in the schedule of property annexed to a Grant made to an estate.

The most common grants are Grant of Probate and Grant of Letters of Administration, but there are other grants that would be issued in special circumstances.

Who should apply for a Grant?

If the deceased died with a Will, the person named as executor should make the application, otherwise the deceased’s next of kin should apply.

In the event of intestacy, the following persons of the deceased have priority to apply for a grant under r21 Non-Contentious Probate Rules:

  1. Spouse;
  2. Children;
  3. Parents; and
  4. Siblings

The significance of priority is that those who has subsequent right cannot apply for grant unless the persons who have prior rights are cleared off.

How to apply for a Grant?

A Grant can be applied for at the Probate Registry of the High Court.  The Applicant must submit documents to support such an application:

  • Applicant’s affidavits;
  • A schedule of assets of the deceased setting out all assets that are in the name of the deceased;
  • Documents to show entitlement of the grant:
    1. Original Will of the Deceased;
    2. Public document to show relationship with the deceased, such as marriage certificate, birth certificate or adoption certificate;
    3. Documents to show prior right has been cleared off, such as:
      • Death certificate;
      • Divorce order; or
  • Deed of Renunciation properly signed by those with prior rights

All supporting documents must be certified true copies issued by the relevant authorities such as birth and death registry or marriage registry.  All documents issued by foreign governments must be properly authenticated.

How long does it take to apply for a Grant?

It depends on the complexity of the case.  For a straightforward grant of probate application, it can be issued within a couple of weeks, otherwise it might take even months.

The Court has an inquisitorial role in the application and accordingly may raise requisition when the application is processed.

What is the role of an Executor/Administrator?

The executor or administrator is appointed by the Court to administer the estate. They are under an obligation to administer the estate in the interest of the creditors and beneficiaries. They have a duty to faithfully administer the estate by calling in the assets, settling all the debts and distribute the estate at the end of the administration. They should also keep a proper account of the estate and answer to reasonable enquiries made by the beneficiaries.

The importance of making a Will

One of the many functions of a Will is to streamline the probate process.  Without a Will, the succession process becomes more complicated with the need of more supporting documents to be provided, and a longer process often means that the family cannot access the inheritance to meet their financial needs.  Hence, we cannot emphasize more the importance of making a Will.


This video is for informational purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal or professional advice.

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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