The following persons have some similarity in their lives, do you know ?
John Denver – American singer
Martin Luther King Jr. – American human rights activist
Roman Tam – Hong Kong singer
Answer : They all have no wills when they passed away.
Some people argue that we have the Intestates’ Estates Ordinance, Cap. 73, which dictates the distribution of the estates of the persons who leave behind the estates to their surviving parents, siblings, spouse and children without making a will. In PRC, there is similar law which regulates the intestates’ estates. There is no need to have a will.
We should understand that law is not tailor made to suit individual’s needs. Each individual has his own profile of properties in the estate, unique personal needs and family needs. Besides, the aspirations of the deceased’s family members vary from case to case. The priority of rights in the distribution of estates stated in the law is to reduce arguments by a preset priority. At the end, we should ask ourselves if the law can completely satisfy our own needs.
The existence of a will may not preclude the beneficiaries from entering into litigation on the distribution of estates. But the chance of such situation can be much reduced.
Litigation is expensive and leads to much smaller share of estate after the legal proceedings whose costs may be paid by the estate. Also litigation is time consuming and hurts the relationship among the siblings, spouse, parents and all other persons being involved. Exposure to media on the details of the case is another factor to be considered before initiating legal proceedings.
A will can serve the purpose of estate planning which can be supplemented by forming a trust or other financial tools.