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7. My grandmother just died and my grandfather died many years ago. She had three children, A, B and C. C passed away one year ago. C had two children, D and E. (1) If my grandmother died with a will directing her estate be distributed among A, B and C evenly, how is the estate be distributed? (2) If my grandmother died intestate, how is the estate distributed?


For both (1) & (2), A and B will take 1/3 each, and D and E will take C’s 1/3 share evenly (i.e. D and E will each take 1/6 of the estate of the grandmother).  


In relation to scenario (1), according to s.23 of Wills Ordinance, where a beneficiary of a will:

  • is a descendent of the testator;
  • passes away before the testator does; and
  • leaves behind issue.


Unless the will shows contrary intention, that beneficiary’s issue will take, in equal shares if more than one, the assets that the deceased originally left behind for that beneficiary.


Under the will in the instant scenario, the grandmother’s estate was to be distributed among A, B and C equally. Since C was a descendent of the grandmother and passed away before she did, leaving behind issue D and E, D and E will take C’s entitlement under the will in equal shares.


In relation to scenario (2), according to s.4 of the Intestate’s Estates Ordinance, if the deceased leaves issue but no spouse, the residuary estate (i.e. the estate after deduction of the deceased’s debts, taxes, funeral, legal and administration expenses etc) will be distributed as follows:


  • child(ren) of the deceased take equal shares (contingent on attaining the age of 18 or on earlier marriage), and
  • the issue of any child(ren) who pre-deceased the deceased take(s) equally their respective parent’s share (contingent on attaining age of 18 or on earlier marriage).


The grandmother in the instant scenario had three children, A, B and C, had all survived the grandmother, each child would have taken the residuary estate in equal shares. However, since C has died before the grandmother did with two children (D & E) of his/her own, D and E will take equally C’s share of the residuary estate when they reach 18 if not already have or married before 18.