Drafting a will by yourself

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 March, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 March, 1994, 12:00am

Sunday Money today introduces a regular column answering readers' questions on legal issues and personal finance. We will seek professional opinions to answer queries. Send your queries to: Readers' Questions, Sunday Money, 1 Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay. Or fax to: 565 1423.

I AM thinking about making a will. Can I do this myself or do I need a lawyer? Does the status of a will change if it has not been through a lawyer? And if no will is found on a person's death, who inherits the estate? A WILL does not have to be drafted by a lawyer but it must be witnessed by two people. When drafting a will, it is vital that none of the wording is ambiguous, or it may be deemed invalid. It is therefore advisable to let a lawyer draft a will on your behalf.

If a person dies without leaving a will, (dying intestate) the estate is divided among the deceased's relatives. The rules are as follows. If the deceased: Leaves a husband/wife but no children, parents, brothers, sisters, nieces or nephews: the estate shall be held in trust for the husband/wife.

Leaves a spouse and children: the spouse will receive the net sum of HK$50,000 and the remaining estate shall be divided so that the husband or wife receives one half and the remainder is divided between the children.

Leaves children but no spouse: the estate shall be held in trust for the children.

Leaves no husband/wife and no children but one or both parents survive: the estate will be held in trust for parents.

Leaves no spouse, children or parents: the estate will be passed to the deceased's brothers or sisters.

We acknowledge the kind assistance of Robertson Double Solicitors.