Full-service Hong Kong lawyers on Hong Kong legal services

We are a Hong Kong-based legal firm with a team of over 20 Hong Kong lawyers of which 2 are qualified Notary Public, 10 are Civil Celebrant of Marriages and 1 is China-Appointed Attesting Officer.


MOTTO : EXPERIENCE‧SPEED‧LOW-COST

Our lawyers specialise in simple legal works. As examples, we handle and file more than 100 divorce cases with the Hong Kong divorce court each month, more than 100 bankruptcy applications to the Hong Kong bankruptcy court each month. Divorce petitions and bankruptcy petitions are filed with court every day and can therefore be speedily dealt with and completed on a timely basis. Legal fees are low because our cost is low: non-prime law office locations and self-owned law office premises at Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan.

SEE LOW COST & SPEEDY HONG KONG LEGAL SERVICES 
SEE FULL-SERVICE HONG KONG LAWYERS ON HONG KONG LEGAL SERVICE 

‧divorce matters ‧probate applications
‧bankruptcy petitions ‧wedding celebrants
‧wills drafting ‧deed polls
‧notary public: overseas & China ‧real properties deals


STRONG LEGAL TEAM AND CONVENIENT OFFICES

We have over 25 lawyers qualified to practise Hong Kong laws,  and about 80 suporting legal staff. Many are qualified legal executives who possess basic legal knowledge and legal skills/experience.

Our law offices are distributed over Hong Kong: Kowoon, the New Territories and Hong Kong Island. This enables our lawyers to provide legal services convenient to clients. Time saved means money saved.


Hong Kong Legal Service Hotline‧6419-9999

Service Enquiry : 6419-9999 (Henry Chung, Partner)
Notary Public Hotline: 6888-9999
Civil Celebrant of Marriages: 8209-9999 

In this legal website, you may find useful law information on areas:


FAQ & legal process on buying a property in Hong Kong - Pre-Closing/Before Completion

Below we have some helpful information on buying real estate in Hong Kong and what the process involves. Our legal team can guide you through the whole process very simply so you that you do not unwittingly fall into any traps due to a lack of understanding.

No restrictions on foreign ownership. But with more Stamp Duty !

There are NO restrictions. Foreigners are permitted to own any land or properties in Hong Kong without any restrictions.

Owned by a person, joint names or by a limited company

The nature of ownership is not freehold but rather a long leasehold. For example, land situate in the New Territories has a lease term up until year 2047. In Hong Kong, you have the option to buy as an individual (including joint names with your spouse) or through a corporation. For large projects, its best to own property through a Hong Kong corporation. Using limited companies to hold properties have to pay more stamp duty.

Step One: Confirm the title

People usually find a property through an estate agent. On finishing negotiation, the estate agent will arrange you to pay an initial deposit (which is usually up to 4% of the purchase price) and to sign a provisional agreement for sale and purchase with the seller. A provisional agreement for sale and purchase consists of pre-printed standard terms widely adopted in the property market.

Before the signing, the first thing you need to do is confirm the legal owner of the property. This is done by making a title search at the Land Registry which is a Government department deposited with all property instruments on land. Either the estate agent or your lawyer may do that on your behalf.

Step Two: Checking the Title

Hong Kong does not practise title registration. Owner's title is not proved by a title certificate. To ascertain the title, you need a conveyancing lawyer to investigate the title by perusing all instruments relating to the property you intend to purchase. Title investigation is usually done by your lawyer after the signing of the formal agreement for sale and purchase.

Step Three: Signing of Formal Agreement for Sale and Purchase

After you have signed the provisional agreement for sale and purchase, the estate agent will help you to pass its copy to your lawyer. Your lawyer will then contact the seller's lawyer. They will negotiate and agree on the terms of the formal agreement for sale and purchase. After agreement, your lawyer will arrange you to sign it and at the same time arrange you to pay the balance of deposit. By this stage, you will have paid a sum equal to 10% of the property price.

Step Four: Registration of the Formal Agreement for Sale and Purchase

Your lawyer will cause the registration of the formal agreement for sale and purchase at the Land Registry to protect your interest in the property.

Your lawyer will eventually receive the title instruments from the seller's lawyer. He will check the title and give advice you on its title aspect. He may do updated search at the Land Registry if necessary and raise title questions to the seller's lawyer to answer.

Getting clean title to property can be a problem and therefore you need an experienced conveyancing lawyer.

Our Conveyancing Team

Our conveyancing legal team stands ready to assist you in completing the title acquisition of the property you intend to purchase. We have extensive experience and skill sets on dealing with purchase of houses, apartments, commercial properties such as offices and factories.


FAQ & legal process on buying a property in Hong Kong - Closing/Completion and After

Step Five: Deed Execution: Assignment for Transfer of Title

Once you are satisfied that the title is in order you will sign an assignment with the seller with the arrangement by your lawyer. An assignment is a deed which helps to transfer the property's title to you. You arrange for payment by arranging financing.

Step Six: Transfer the Funds

Purchase price is paid by cheques drawn at your lawyer's bank account. Your lawyer will arrange with you to make sure that your money is available in their account to pay for you by their cheques. The safest thing is pay your lawyer the money several days before the completion date to enable clearance of the fund. This is extremely important in Hong Kong because non-payment before the agreed completion time on the completion date will mean your breach of the agreement. Breach will result in loss of the deposit and a seller's claim for other losses. When your lawyer has paid the purchase price for you in full to the seller, the seller will send the keys of the property to your lawyer to enable you to take possession of it.

Step Seven: Register the Assignment at the Land Registry

Your lawyer will do this for you in order to protect your interest in the property. Once the registration process is completed, your lawyers will give you the registered deeds and the property will be yours. In case your purchase is financed by a bank's mortgage, the registered deeds will be passed to the bank for their custody as a lending security.

Transaction Costs: Commission and Legal Cost

Real estate agent commissions typically 1% of the price and are paid by the seller and the buyer each. The legal fee to your lawyer is by agreement. There is no standard fee.  Agree the fee with your lawyer before you appoint them to deal with the conveyance. The buyer must pay the expenses registering the new deeds. The amount is fixed by the Government. For example, it is $500 to register a mortgage deed. The same fee amount applies to an assignment.

Government Tax: Stamp Duty

You have to pay the Government stamp duty on the transaction. Please note that foreign buyers have to pay additional stamp duty. If you let a property to a tenant, you have to pay the property tax on the rental income. However, there is no capital tax in Hong Kong.

Financing

It is easy to get a mortgage in Hong Kong if you have an income. Local financing is widely available for foreign residents. Many banks in Hong Kong are extremely active in the mortgage loan markets. They offer terms to home buyers with competitive rates. The loan term can be as long as up to 25 years.

Our Conveyancing Team

Our conveyancing legal team stands ready to assist you in completing the title acquisition of the property you intend to purchase. We have extensive experience and skill sets on dealing with purchase of houses, apartments, commercial properties such as offices and factories.


FAQ on wills and legal requirements on making a will

What is a will?

A will is a legal document you use to leave property to close family members, friends, or charities. In your will, you name beneficiaries to inherit your property, an executor to wrap up your estate, and guardians to care for your young children. You can set up a trust for money inherited by children. You can also forgive debts owed to you and state how you want your debts, expenses, and taxes to be paid.

What can I do with a Will?

With a Will you can:

  • Name beneficiaries (and alternate beneficiaries) to inherit your property.
  • Name a guardian to care for your young children.
  • Create a trust or a custodianship and choose an adult to manage your children's
  • State how your debts, expenses, and taxes are to be paid.
  • Name an executor to carry out the terms of your will.

How much does a Will cost?

$1000 to $3000 depending on complexity.

What information do I need to make my will?

It will be easier to make your will if you have gathered some information first:

  • a rough inventory of your property (but if you plan to leave everything to one or a few people, you can skip this)
  • a list of beneficiaries -- that is, the people who will get your property
  • a list of alternate beneficiaries -- the people who will inherit your property if your first-choice beneficiary dies before you
  • if you have young children, a list of your first and second choices for guardian
  • a list of your first and second choices for executor

How long will it take to make my will?

You could make a very basic will in just a few minutes. But a will is an important document; don't rush. Put aside an hour or two to think about your wishes and make your will.

When do I pay?

When you have decided to instruct us to prepare the will and given us your instructions on its content.

What do I do with my completed will?

We shall give the completed will to you after you have signed it and witnessed by two witnesses provided by us. Store this original document in a safe place, such as a bank safety box.

Can I make copies of my completed will?

It's fine to give a copy of your will to your executor or other loved ones for informational purposes.

Do not sign more than one copy of the will. Doing so creates more than one original document and could cause confusion after your death.

What other estate planning documents might I need?

In addition to a will, you might consider making: a living trust (whose main advantage is to avoid probate court proceedings after your death) and a power of attorney (to allow a trusted person to arrange your affairs if you can't).

Is it safe to make a will without a lawyer?

Home-made wills are common in Western countries. Because a will is a very important document, a will prepared by a lawyer will be more safe. It is cheap and convenient to prepare a will in Hong Kong.

Is a simple will enough for me?

It's always fine to make a simple will. Simplicity will create the least uncertainty. But there are some situations in which you may need more than a simple will and should get expert advice or, at the least, investigate your options. For example:

  • If you anticipate family fights, see a lawyer for advice on how to stave off bad feelings and legal battles.
  • If you want to set up a long-term trust for a child with special needs.

Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Choosing the right real estate agent is an important decision which can dramatically impact your selling or purchasing experience. The following is a partial list of factors you should consider in selecting the right real estate broker.

Selling

Commission - in general, a broker would not charge more than 1% of the sales price.

Comparable Sales - ask the agent to provide you with a list of other properties with similar characteristics which recently sold in your area.

Familiarity with your Neighborhood - make sure you choose an agent who is very knowledgeable about your specific neighborhood.

Exclusivity of Agency - unless your property is extremely valuable and the estate agent is prepared to allocate certain advertising cost for its sale, Sole agency is undesirbale.

Advertising - Find out where and how often the property will be advertised. If you list the property in the newspaper, other publications and the real estate agent's website.

Open Houses - Find out if the real estate agent will be scheduling open houses. Although these open houses are usually not the most effective marketing tool, they can help sell your home.

Preparing Your Property for Sale - Does the realtor have good suggestions about how to make your property more appealing to potential purchasers?

Purchasing

Find a real estate agent who listens to you and understands your priorities.

Find an agent who is free when you need them.

Choose an agent who points out the negatives, as well as the positives, of each property. There are many possible problems with a flat, the property or location which may not be obvious to a potential buyer. Make sure your agent informs you of these negatives.

If you are looking in different towns, consider using more than one agent. The agent you are thrilled with in one town may not be as knowledgeable about properties in other towns.

Find an agent who keeps you informed of new listings. Once your agent understands what you are looking for in a home, he/she should contact you as soon as new listings come on the market. Make sure your real estate agent has you in mind when new listings hit the market so that you do not miss these opportunities.


What is a Power of Attorney?

In the event we can no longer care for ourselves it is important to have in place a method of ensuring that those people we trust the most have the power to look out for our best interests. 

A Power of Attorney grants those people we trust the most, the power to do this.  It is the legal step that grants important powers to ensure that the care, welfare and administration of your financial and legal affairs are managed by those you most trust. 

Preparing these documents well in advance assists you and your family to prepare for your future care.  It also may avoid conflict between loved ones as you have set a clear path for your care.

Very often, a Power of Attorney is prepared for disposing a real property. This will enable you to sell the property without your physical presence. The attorney will sign the documents such as agreement and assignment for you. You must find a lawyer to prepare a Power of Attorney and handle its execution. Buyer does not accept invalid or doubtful Power of Attorney.


Terms Frequently Used in Wills

Beneficiary: Person entitled to receive assets from a testator/testatrix's estate.

Bequest: Specific item left to someone under a Will - e.g. an item of jewelry, a painting, etc.

Estate: Term used to generally describe testator/testatrix's possessions, assets and affairs on death.

Executor: Male person appointed to handle the testator/testatrix’s affairs on death. Female person appointed is called Executix.

Legacy: Amount of money left to someone under a Will. Person left an amount of money under a Will is called Legatee.

Residue: Remainder of assets once any specific bequests, legacies, expenses, etc have been paid. More often, it is called Residuary Estate.

Testator: Male person making a Will. Female person making a Will is called Testatrix.

Trustee: Another term used for the Executor holding assets in trust for a beneficiary of the Will.


What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document which records your intentions as to who receives your assets, who will manage your affairs and who will look after your children after your death.  If you do not have a Will at the time of your death, the above matters will be determined according to the laws of intestacy (i.e. having no wills). The manner of distribution under the "no-will" laws may not match your intentions.

When to Make a New Will ?

An existing will can be replaced by a new will. People make a new will because of the following possible reasons:-

  • having just got married. Marriage revokes all earlier wills. No will may be needed.
  • separation with the spouse, divorced or spouse's death.
  • having a new child.
  • having a big fortune e.g. inheritance, mark-six lottery winning.

Wills, Succession Planning and Estates

Esate Duty Abolished

Estate duty (inheritance tax or death duty) has been abolished in Hong Kong. Succession planning nowadays has become simpler. Legacies are not subject to Government tax unless a transfer of beneficial interests not within the scope of the laws of succession.

Wills are not just for senior citizens.  Wills are particularly important to parents who wish to provide their own children security. Children can be clear who will be taking their care should their parents or guardians come to an untimely death.

Some people do not have any obvious dependants. A Will can avoid the Government taking control of assets on his demise.

Simplest succession planning is by preparing a will. Our lawyers are in a position to carry out such a simple task. However, there many be some other related issues such as the dealing of assets in joint names, the freezing of assets before probate is granted. Our lawyers can provide you with up to date and timely advice on preparing your will and succession planning so that the assets are distributed according to the will. 


Notes on appointing an estate agent

  • estate agent practising in Hong Kong must be licensed. But it is easy find one who is licensed
  • the appointment can be made in a way of "single agency" (i.e., the agent represents only the buyer) and “dual agency” (i.e. the agent represents both the buyer and the vendor)
  • estate agent will sign with you an estate agency agreement.
  • before signing you should understand the various terms, including validity period of the Agreement (usually 3 months) and agreed commission paid by buyer and seller (usually 1% each BUT the amount or % is negotiable) and other special terms of the Buyer (if applicable)
  • ask for a receipt upon paying a fee

Where to Get information about a Property?

Buyer can confirm the following property information by search on the Internet, real estate agents, developers and the current owner and when necessary seek the service of a conveyancing lawyer:

  • Name of current property owner and his/her ownership right
  • Property age, gross area and saleable area of the property
  • Information of area and environment surrounding the property
  • Current property situation(owner occupied or leased)
  • Current usage of the property: whether the use of the property is specified as residential
  • Rates, Government rent, property maintenance cost and management fee,etc.
  • Illegal structure (e.g. altered balcony) and maintenance order
  • Consult the bank if the property can be mortgaged

Key elements on choosing a property

Key elements to be considered when choosing the property:

  • Property value and affordability
  • Property location and information of area surrounding the property
  • Property age
  • Size and property type
  • Quality of building materials 
  • Developer, property management and security control
  • Uncompleted flat or completed flat (first hand or second hand)
  • Environment, transportation, public facilities, school network and future development of the area
  • Resale value of the property

Car accident claims legal process: personal injuries and property loss

If you've been in a car accident, you need a car accident lawyer. Our car accident lawyers will advise you on your rights and can help you make your car accident claim. You may make a preliminary assessment on your car accident here.

Question 1: Were you involved in a car accident?

In order for us to file a successful car accident claim on your behalf, you must have been involved in and injured by a car accident. You may have been the driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, a cyclist, or another person injured by the negligence of someone driving a car or other motor vehicle.

Question 2: Were you injured in a car accident?

It is important that you were injured in the accident. If you were uninjured or just had some bruises, your lawsuit may belong to a small claim at the Small Claims Tribunal. Lawyers are not entitled to represent you in a small claim.

However, if you sustained serious injuries because of the accident and you required hospitalization and/ or ongoing medical care, or if you've become permanently disabled due to the accident, you may have a valid legal claim against the driver and owner of the vehicle.

Question 3: Was the car accident the result of the driver's negligence?

Failure to use reasonable care while driving a motor vehicle amounts negligence. Determining who was at fault in a motor vehicle accident means figuring out who was negligent, and thus responsible for causing the accident. Negligence is often indicated by disobeying traffic signs or signals, failure to signal when turning, failure to follow the speed limit, or driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. If your injuries are the result of a driver's negligence, you are more likely to have a solid claim.

Common Examples of Driver's Negligence

‧Cutting in front
‧Failing to watch blind spots
‧Inattentive drivers
‧Playing squeeze drive
‧Aggressive drivers
‧Drink and drive

HOTLINE FOR FREE CLAIM EVALUATION: 6419-9999


Your legal rights: what you don't do when having an injury accident?

Here is what not to do if you have been injured in an accident:

  • Do not wait to file your insurance claim.
  • Do not wait to file a police report and retrieve a copy.
  • Do not settle with insurance companies without legal advice. It is the business of insurance companies to try to minimize monetary settlements. Some adjusters will visit you in the hospital. Many have been trained to express sympathy while noting comments that could potentially damage your case.
  • When speaking to doctors or any healthcare practitioners, tell them when you feel physical pain. Avoid speculating about the extent or severity of your injuries. Your medical records are admissible as evidence in your case.
  • Do not wait to gather contact information and/or statements from witnesses to your accident. Witnesses are most effective when they are still emotional and your accident is fresh in their minds. Memories fade, people move away or simply decide that they are no longer interested in helping with your case.
  • Be extremely suspicious of anyone who tell you don’t need a lawyer.
  • Reject the help of any so-called "claims recovery agent". They aim at sharing a huge amount of your compensation without too much work.
  • You need to retain a reputable personal injury lawyer if you hope to receive a fair monetary settlement for your injuries.

HOTLINE FOR FREE CLAIM EVALUATION: 6419-9999


Your legal rights: what to do on having injuries in an accident?

Your basic claims are:

  • Lost Wages
  • Medical Expenses
  • Trauma
  • Pain & Suffering.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a caraccident or if you have suffered a serious personal injury of any kind where a third party may have been at fault, you need to act decisively and consider a personal injury lawyer.

We urge you to retain a reputable personal injury lawyer immediately. Your lawyer will protect your case.

What you should do if you’ve been injured in an accident:

  • Retain a reputable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
  • Get a copy of the police report.
  • If you have been hospitalized, keep the medical records and reference.
  • If your car accident involved multiple vehicles, get insurance information from all drivers.
  • Get licence plate numbers, driver’s names and addresses of all parties involved in your accident.
  • Secure names and addresses of all relevant witnesses to your accident. If possible, take statements from them immediately. Do not wait to gather your witnesses. Talk to them while they are still emotionally involved in your potential case. Memories fade, people move away or simply decide at a later date that they do not want to be involved.

CAR ACCIDENT INJURIES HOTLINE: 6419-9999 (Henry Chung)


Real properties or conveyancing: legal services on sale, purchase & mortgages. Hotline: 95099999

Our lawyers provides legal services to everyday home-sellers and home-buyers. More than 10 colleagues specialize in various aspects of conveyancing and land related matters. Because they do not spend any time and effort on handling high-profile sale of properties by big developers at present and in the past, our lawyers are highly experienced in sale, purchase and mortgage of second-hand properties. They have experienced the ups and downs of Hong Kong’s extremely volatile property market in the past 20 years and can therefore advise property clients on a wide range of legal issues relating to sale, purchase, redemption and mortgage of real properties in Hong Kong. To serve the home-owners at the local community level, we have set up 5 sub-offices over Hong Kong: Mongkok, Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Shatin and Yuen Long. Home sellers and home-buyers can have access to our legal service on real property transactions with extreme ease and convenience.

BARGAIN SERVICES: REMORTGAGE ($4500), REDEMPTION ($1500).
Note: exclusive disbursements e.g. land registration fees.

ENQUIRY HOTLINE: 6419-9999


HK Marriage registration by civil celebrants: marry by marriage lawyers for $1900. Hotline: 82099999

We have over 10 lawyers who are appointed Civil Celebrants of Marriages. They may provide marriage solemnization services at any time and at places such as hotel ballroom and at offices in Hong Kong.  Many wedding couples come to us by reason of our easy access and atmorsphere. Those having the wedding gone through at our office premises in Mongkok (Grand Tower I), Wanchai, Sheung Shui, Yuen Long and Tsuen Wan may just wear casual dresses attended by their closest friends and relatives.

Our civil celebrants have handled hundreds of weddings in the past. They are well experienced and familiar with the entire process.  Intending marrying couple can attend one of our 10 offices during office hours without the need of making a prior appointment. They may sign the notice of intended marriage on the same day. Because the entire process is handled by us, they need not quene up at the Marriage Registry. Nor they have to compete for "red lucky" days.

Marriages celebrated at our  offices during office hours is $1900 in total. Couple has to pay additionally if wedding held at non-office hours and if either of them is under 18. For no commitment and free enquiry, please call 82099999

Marriage site: HongKongMarriageRegistration.com


IVA (Individual voluntary arrangment) Personal debts restructuring, debt relief plan (DRP). Hotline: 64288888

In March 2002, Yip, Tse & Tang launched a new debt legal service serving the needs of Hong Kong debtors. The service is known as Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) which is a statutory alternative to bankruptcy under the laws (Bankruptcy Ordinance). IVA is a debt restructuring scheme and has the benefit of avoiding bankruptcy.

IVA is a 'win-win' debt solution to creditors and debtors. Some debtors, such as civil servants, well-paid managers or professionals don't like bankruptcy. IVA applicants can be credit card debtors or undischarged bankrupts. The firm has teamed up with skilled debt analyst and experienced certified public accountant to provide this legal service.

LOW AND AFFORDABLE LEGAL COST

IVA applicants are only required to pay $2,000 as initial legal cost to start with a repayment proposal. Our IVA legal service is built upon the solid foundation we have acquired in our bankruptcy legal service. Our lawyers are experienced in communicating with banks and finance companies. That facilitates our early reach of a compromise repayment plan between debtors and creditors

TRACK RECORDS: MORE THAN 1200 IVA APPROVED

By April, 2008, our lawyers have over 1,200 IVA legal applications approved by banks and finance companies.

LOWER LEGAL COST AND MORE EFFICIENT OPTION: DRP

Some debtors may be suitable for Debt Relief Plan (DRP). Unlike IVA, DRP are not legal proceedings. DRP is achieved by private negotiations with banks and finance companies. Comparing with IVA, DRP is inexpensive and more efficient. However, not all debtors are suitable for the DRP solution.

ENQUIRIES:

Alan Wong, Personal Insolvency Department
Tel : 6419-9999 (Holidays as usual)


Personal bankruptcy $14500. Enquiry: 64288888

Since August 2001, our lawyers have represented more than 10,000 debtors in filing their self-bankruptcy petitions with Courts in Hong Kong.

The reputable web-site on personal bankruptcy applications (Chinese) www.Broke.com.hk has been featured by over 10 local and international newspapers or magazines, including Reuters, BBC and Le Monde. Our lawyers of the personal bankruptcy team have also been interviewed by TVB, ATV, Cable TV, RTHK, Commercial Radio and MetroRadio Broadcast on debt or bankruptcy subjects on many occasions.

Self-bankruptcy in many situations may be the best option to solve one's debt problems.

English website : HongKongBankruptcy.com

OUR LOW LEGAL FEE

$14500, inclusive our legal fees, Court fee and Official Receiver's deposit

Alternative to Bankruptcy: debt relief plan (DRP)

If you do dont wish to go bankrupt, you may find you suitable for debt relief plan (DRP): check out at 9DRP.COM. We have handled over 2000 debt restructuring cases since 2002 (DRP or IVA).

ENQUIRIES

Henry Chung, Personal Insolvency Department
Legal Service Hotline : 6419-9999 (Holidays as usual)