Developments in gay inheritance law in Hong Kong
Contentious probate solicitor and partner, Chris Holten, provides an update on the latest developments in gay inheritance law in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Court of Appeal has recently upheld a ruling that supported the extension of equal inheritance rights to LGBT couples in Hong Kong. In 2020 the Hong Kong Court endorsed equal rights for same sex married couples under the city’s inheritance laws. In response, the city’s government filed an appeal of that endorsement.
While Hong Kong law still does not allow same sex marriage, many couples choose to marry abroad before returning to the country. Under the previous Hong Kong inheritance law, a same sex couple, legally married abroad, would not enjoy the same inheritance benefits as a couple of opposite sex.
In their written judgement, Judges Peter Cheung, Maria Yuen and Thomas Au, determined that the appeal failed on all grounds. In doing so, they noted:
“There’s no reason why foreign same sex marriage cannot be similarly admitted as a matter of principle of equality of treatment”.
The ruling is deemed to be a major step forward in equalising the inequality which currently exists in the laws governing same sex and opposite sex, marriages. The city’s government has been granted a two year window to create a legal framework for recognising legal unions between same sex couples.
For guidance on gay inheritance law contact LGBT specialist contentious probate solicitor Chris Holten.