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What is a Discretionary Trust in Hong Kong laws?


In Hong Kong, discretionary trusts are used by families to make long-term financial provision for sons and daughters. It is a form of "family trust". The key point about a discretionary trust is that funds or property put into the trust do not count as assets for the purposes of benefits or in terms of the responsibility of the local authority or health authority to fund care. This is because the funds put into a discretionary trust do not belong to the beneficiaries but to the trust.

Why is it called a Discretionary Trust?

This kind of trust is administered by trustees. The deeds which set up the trust give the trustees discretion as to how the funds are to be used. The intended beneficiaries have no rights to either the income or capital held in trust. To work in terms of financial planning for children an additional characteristic is usually that the trust is set up for the benefit of a group of people, not a single person. This can be a 'class' of beneficiary of whom the son or daughter is a member, for example all people with Downs Syndrome or with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Can I put my house into a Discretionary Trust?

Yes. Your home is an asset and can therefore be put into trust. This is commonly done through setting up a trust in the parents' will which makes provision for the property to be put into trust. There are several reasons why this may be a good idea.

  • First, the trustees can undertake the task of managing and maintaining the property. This is particularly important where the disabled person may lack legal capacity and therefore would be unable to manage money and to contract for the maintenance services. 
  • Second, because the property is put into trust it does not belong to the individual and therefore cannot be subject to a legal liability owed by a beneficiary.

Media Law, Hong Kong

Media law refers to the following:

  • Advertising: agency and sales contracts
  • Broadcasting and public performance
  • Censorship and regulations
  • Confidentiality
  • Contempt
  • Copyright
  • Defamation: slander and libel
  • Entertainment and sports
  • Freedom of or access to public information
  • Internet
  • Information Technology
  • Privacy and personal data

Entertainment Law, defamation, music

Entertainment law is generally sub-divided into the following areas:

    Hong Kong's defamation laws protect reputation of  a person. Generally speaking, Libel means defamatory statements made on papers or a fixed media while slander is something verbal. The difference is legally important !
  • FILM
    covering option agreements, finance, chain of title issues, talent agreements (screenwriters, film directors, actors, composers, production designers), production and post production and trade union issues, distribution issues, motion picture industry negotiations distribution, and general intellectual property issues especially relating to copyright and, to a lesser extent, trademarks
    including software licensing issues, video game development and production, Information technology law, and general intellectual property issues
    including talent agreements (musicians, composers), producer agreements, and synchronization rights, music industry negotiation and general intellectual property issues, especially relating to copyright
    and print media issues, including advertising, models, author agreements and general intellectual property issues, especially relating to copyright
    including broadcast licensing and regulatory issues, mechanical licenses, and general intellectual property issues, especially relating to copyright
    including rental agreements and co-production agreements, and other performance oriented legal issues
    including fine arts, issues of consignment of artworks to art dealers, moral rights of sculptors regarding works in public places; and industrial design, issues related to the protection of graphic design elements in products.

Intellectual property rights and Legal aspects of Information Technology

We provide a wide range of Intellectual Property (“IP”) and information technology legal services:

  • patents
  • trademarks
  • copyright
  • registered designs

We also give legal advice to clients on confidential information or trade confidential informtion. 

We also advise information technology enterprises or clients on legal aspects of IT:

  • software escrow
  • IT contracts
  • domain names transfer. 

We offer legal help to IP and IT owners in litigation for the enforcement of and defence of intellectual property rights of all kinds, including obtaining injunctions and other relief in Hong Kong.