Intestate Estate Succession

The Intestates’ Estates Ordinance, Cap 73) came into force on 7th October 1971 and sets out details of the people who will share in the estate of a person who dies intestate after that date.


Before the Ordinance was enacted in 1971, succession to the estate of a Chinese person dying intestate was governed by Tsing law.


The Ordinance was amended on 3rd November 1995.


The different dates mentioned above affect succession to the estates of person who die on or after one of those dates.


Total Intestacy

When a person dies without effectively disposing of any of his property by a valid will.


Partial Intestacy

When a person dies leaving a valid will which does not effectively dispose of the whole estate. This might happen when the deceased has made a valid will which does not contain a residuary gift or when the gift of residue fails and there is no effective substitute gift in the will.


Order of entitlement is provided in Sections 4 and 5, including ‘per stripes distribution’ and ‘hotchpot’.


Section 4(11) provides that when the intestate and his spouse die in circumstances in which it is unclear whether one died first or which one died first, it is presumed that the spouse did not survive the intestate. In other words, the commorientes rule in section 11 of Conveyance And Property Ordinance, Cap 219 concerning presumption of survivorship does not apply.


Section 8A provides that interests acquired under an intestacy or partial intestacy outside Hong Kong diminish the surviving spouse’s statutory legacy or net sum payable to the surviving spouse.

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