Has the Administration of the Estate been Unacceptable?


In the recent High Court case Chu Wing Chuen Paul v Chu Oi Yan [2022] HKCFI 804, beneficiaries of the estate contend that the administrator did not act in their interest and failed to provide adequate estate accounts. While there was indeed a delay in providing the accounts to the Plaintiffs, the Court accepts that it does not automatically call for a removal. The Court is satisfied that the administrator has acted in the beneficiaries’ interest and there was no improper conduct.

The Court confirms and restates the principles on the removal of administrators or executors:

  1. Hostility between the administrator and the beneficiary is not a ground for removal unless it makes the administration difficult or impossible;
  2. Not every mistake or neglect of duty by the administrator will lead to a removal. For example, the acts of omission must be such to endanger the trust property;
  3. Views of the beneficiaries are relevant;
  4. The fact that administration could have been done better is not itself a sufficient ground;
  5. The sincerity and intention of the administrator in performing his obligations should be taken into account;
  6. The size and nature of the estate, the interest of the beneficiaries, and the background of the substituted personal representatives will also be taken into account.

After all, the discretion to remove the administrator involves an assessment and a value judgment in all circumstances to determine whether removal is necessary for due and proper administration of the estate and the interest of the beneficiaries. Tanner De Witt has substantial experience on contentious and non-contentious probate and we are always ready to assist.

Eddie Look and Pamela Mak

If you would like to discuss any of the matters raised in this article, please contact:

Eddie Look
Partner | E-mail

Pamela Mak
Partner | E-mail

Disclaimer: This publication is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.