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Appointment of Guardian

As a parent you will likely want your children to be provided for and to inherit your estate. You will want to know that they will be comfortable and provided for when you are gone, with enough to get them started in life, especially in the event you were to pass before they turn 18. It’s a tragic thing to have to think about, though one that we should all contemplate, as you never know what’s around the corner. If you have step-children, then writing a will is even more important not only for passing your estate to them but to ensure continuity of guardianship.

In most countries, if both parents were to pass away leaving children behind then the children become “ward of the state” which means that children legally become orphans and must be held by the courts before it is decided which family or relatives take over custody of the children. The court will have to appoint someone for you, which can be a lengthy and stressful process. In the meantime, your children will likely be taken into care.

Generally, this rule applies in all countries around the world even though some jurisdictions are Civil law and some are written under common law like in Hong Kong. The Guardianship of Minors Ordinance (Cap. 13) governs court proceedings relating to the custody and upbringing of children, as well as the appointment and removal of guardians. The Government has amended the relevant legislation in accordance to the recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong. The Guardianship of Minors (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 (the Amendment Ordinance) has come into operation on 13 April 2012.

At Harbour Wills we can arrange both standalone Appointment of Temporary Guardian instructions and additionally Appointment of Permanent Guardian forms that ensure you can choose who you wish to have guardianship over your children in the event of your death.

You have to consider every eventuality, no matter how unlikely you think it is. Just imagine if you and your partner were to die before getting the chance to write a Will and appoint a guardianship.

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