Order of priority
(i) the executor;
(ii) any residuary legatee or devisee holding in trust for any other person;
(iii) any residuary legatee or devisee for life;
(iv) the ultimate residuary legatee or devisee
where the residue is not wholly disposed of by the will, any person entitled to share in the residue
(v) any specific legatee or devisee or any creditor or the personal representative of any such person subject to r.25(3) of Non-Contentious Probate Rules (Cap. 10A) or where the estate is not wholly disposed of by the will, any person who does not have an immediate beneficial interest in the estate but who may have a beneficial interest in the event of an accretion to the estate;
(vi) any legatee or devisee, whether residuary or specific, entitled on the happening of any contingency, or any person having no interest under the will of the deceased who would have been entitled to a grant if the deceased had died wholly intestate.
Choice between persons entitled in the same degree
In general, the court makes a grant of letters of administration to the person(s) whom it considers will most effectively administer the estate.
- A grant may be made to any person entitled without notice to any other persons entitled in the same degree.
- Any dispute between persons entitled to a grant in the same degree should be resolved by bringing a summons before the Registrar. As a result, the person issuing such summons will enter a caveat, and the Registrar will not allow any grant to be sealed until the dispute is resolved.
- A living person is preferred to the personal representatives of a deceased person who would, if living, be entitled in the same degree.
- A person not under disability is preferred to an infant entitled in the same degree.
Administration shall not be granted to more than four persons in respect of the same property. If there is a minority or if a life interest, administration shall be granted to a trust corporation, with or without an individual, or to not less than two individuals: s.25(1) of Probate and Administration Ordinance (Cap. 10).
A person will not be appointed as an administrator if he:
- is under 21 years old;
- suffers from mental/ severe physical disability to the extent that renders him incapable of managing his own affairs (see r. 33 of Non-Contentious Probate Rules (Cap. 10A); or
- in prison.
The Court generally views that an insolvent person is unsuitable to be appointed an administrator.