Financial Literacy for Everyone

Financial Fortune Teller

Get a sneak peek into your financial future to see how well you are saving and planning for retirement.

Explore financial calculators

Can you afford a trip? How to save for a goal? Explore these calculators to help plan for your future.

Death of a Spouse

The death of a spouse can be devastating. Sudden losses can be even harder. If your spouse managed the majority of the financial responsibilities, even just paying bills can seem overwhelming. But you can work your way through it.

Try not to make any long-term decisions right away. Take your time. Emotional times are not the best times to make decisions.

Gathering the proper paperwork is the first step in settling your spouse's affairs. Start with the following:

  • Death Certificate – The death certificate will be needed for many financial procedures you will encounter. You should make several copies from the Deaths Registry.
  • Insurance Policies – These will help you determine benefits you are entitled to.
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Birth Certificates for Dependent Children
  • The Deceased's Will
  • Complete List of all Properties

Get Your Finances In Order
If you receive a life insurance benefit, save that money. Put it in an interest-bearing account such as a savings account or a foreign currency account. But keep it liquid. You may need it.

Make sure you have health insurance. If you were previously covered by your spouse’s company, call to check if you are still covered and for how long. If you are not, get medical insurance right away.

Use the paperwork you gathered to claim the following:

  • Life Insurance Benefits – Most likely, the company will pay the proceeds directly to the named beneficiary in either lump sum, fixed payments or as interest payments on a larger amount. It may take several weeks for you to receive payments. If your spouse is named as your beneficiary on your life insurance policies or retirement plans, you should take this time to name another beneficiary.
  • Social Security – If the cause of your spouse’s death was an accident, a natural disaster, or a homicide, you may be eligible for financial support from the Social Welfare Department.
  • Employee Benefits – Your spouse may have had life insurance, a pension plan, vacation or sick pay and other benefits to which you are entitled. Contact the human resources director at your spouse's workplace for a list of benefits.

According to the Inland Revenue Department, Hong Kong residents do not need to pay duty for the estate of the deceased if the death occurred after February 2006.

Some Smaller Details
Review your will and make adjustments to reflect your new situation. You will probably need to change who will inherit your assets and you may need to decide on a new executor. Change accounts and jointly held property into your name including credit cards, deeds, etc.

Sources: GovHK, Social Welfare Department , Inland Revenue Department