3. If the value of the deceased’s estate does not exceed $50,000, will the application procedure be different?
With effect from 1st April 2007, under the delegated authority from the Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, the Director of Home Affairs takes over from the Commissioner of Inland Revenue the provision of various services for estate beneficiaries through the establishment of an "Estate Beneficiaries Support Unit".
If the value of the estate does not exceed $50,000 and the estate consisted wholly of money, the person who is entitled to apply for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration ("the Applicant") can apply for the issue of a confirmation notice from the Home Affairs Department.
The applicant must submit the application to the Estate Beneficiaries Support Unit at 3/F, Southorn Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong with the following documents:-
- an application form (HAEU5);
- an affirmation/affidavit (Form HAEU5-A) which declares that the total value of all properties beneficially owned by the deceased does not exceed $50,000 and the estate is wholly made up of money; and
- a Schedule of Money of the deceased person in Hong Kong as at the date of death in duplicate (Form HAEU5-S) which sets out the details of the estate.
The following supporting documents (originals and photocopies) must also be submitted:
- the identity card/passport of the deceased person;
- the death certificate of the deceased person;
- the identity card/passport of the applicant;
- the last will of the deceased person, if any;
- any document(s) evidencing the relationship between the deceased person and the applicant, e.g. marriage or birth certificate, if the applicant is not the executor of the deceased person;
- the letter(s) of renunciation duly executed by the person(s) entitled in higher priority to administer the estate, if applicable;
- the death certificate(s) of the person(s) entitled in higher priority to administer the estate, if applicable;
- any document(s) evidencing the relationship between person(s) named under (f) and/or (g) and the deceased person, if applicable; and
- fixed deposit receipt(s)/bank statement(s)/bank passbook(s) in respect of all bank account(s) of the deceased person, showing the bank account balance as at the date of death of the deceased person and those for the last three months before death.
If the affirmation/affidavit is in order, the Director of Home Affairs (under authority delegated by the Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs) will issue a confirmation notice within 12 working days.
The applicant shall then visit the Estate Beneficiaries Support Unit at a scheduled time slot to swear/affirm in an affidavit as to the truthfulness and correctness of the affidavit and the schedule exhibited by the affidavit and collect the confirmation notice and a duplicate copy of the Schedule of Money.
The holder of the confirmation notice will be exempted from the intermeddling provisions and deal with the estates without any grant.
If the banks agree to release the balance in the accounts to the Applicant upon issuance of the confirmation notice, it will not be necessary for the Applicant to proceed further with an application to the Probate Registry either for summary administration or for a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration. Please note that the banks have the discretion to decide whether to release the balance in the bank accounts stated in the schedule annexed to the confirmation notice.
If more assets are found later resulting in the value of the estate exceeding $50,000, the Applicant should notify the Director of Home Affairs and, if a confirmation notice has been issued, return it for cancellation. Then, the applicant should follow the application procedure for summary administration or a Grant of Probate/ Letters of Administration (as the case may be).
Details of the application procedure can be viewed from the website of the Home Affairs Department (Estate Beneficiaries Support Services).