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2. What property constitutes assets?

Property formed part of the estate

Real property: i.e. landed properties. A personal representative needs to register the grant of representation at the Land Registry before he/she can effectively deal with the property.


Chattels: items such as cars, watches and jewelries etc.


Bank accounts: the personal representative should present the grant of probate/letters of administration to the bank.


Insurance policies: If the beneficiary of the policy is the deceased himself, the personal administrator will need to collect the insurance money, if any, according to the policy. If it is a life policy whose beneficiary is someone other than the deceased (e.g. deceased’s families), it does not fall within a part of the estate. See below.


Mandatory Provident Fund/Other Pension Schemes: For MPF, please refer to the website of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority for more information. For other pension schemes, you need to refer to the scheme documents and contact the person-in-charge accordingly.


Company Shares: The personal representative does not step into the shoes of the deceased and become a member (i.e. shareholder) of the company automatically upon grant. He or she needs to ask the company to register him or her as a member: s.158 of Companies Ordinance (Cap 622).


Property not formed part of the estate

Property held in joint tenancy: it passes to other joint tenant(s) the moment the deceased dies. All the other joint tenant(s) need(s) to do is to register the death certificate of the deceased joint tenant.


Nominated property: e.g. some pension policy states that the benefits will pass to another person upon the pensioner’s demise.


Life insurance policies written in trust for a named beneficiary: the insurer would pay the insurance money to the beneficiary directly.