3. I have lost all my love and affection for my wife. I plan to leave nothing to her without even mentioning her name in my Will. Can I do that?

Generally speaking, every person has "free testamentary capacity". That means people can, by Will, leave their assets to whomever they wish.

However, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Ordinance (Cap. 481 of the laws of Hong Kong) empowers the Court to make orders that provisions be made out of the deceased's estate for certain members of the deceased's family and dependants.

For example, if you were to declare that all your estate goes to your parents, or a charity, without leaving even one dollar to your wife or minor children, such an intention may not be achieved after your death. Your wife and your children could apply to the Court for provisions to be made for them from your estate. In other words, they may be entitled to get a reasonable amount from your estate in order to maintain their living. This is governed by section 3, section 4 and section 5 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Ordinance.

In theory, the scope of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Ordinance also covers the case of a person who died intestate (without leaving a Will). In practice, it would be of less significance as the beneficiaries ranking in priority under intestacy, being the surviving spouse and children of the deceased, would generally be the persons expecting financial provisions from the deceased's estate.

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