Just approached by a client from Southeast Asia who inquired about inheriting his Dad’s estate in China, a real property in Shanghai.
He contacted me because he felt suspicious of something that must have gone wrong about his current lawyer working on the inheritance matter. It has been almost a year and the client has spent most of their budget for the matter and still got no idea when the inheritance will be done.
The problem is that the client initially hired a local lawyer to help him (together with other heirs) with the inheritance. This is understandable. Very often people in need of legal services would go for help from local attorneys or lawyers, for they simply don’t know how to find a foreign lawyer or they are afraid that there may not be a lawyer who may communicate with them in their language. This is all fine if the local lawyer can then find a good Chinese lawyer to cooperate to get things done.
Here comes the real disaster. The local lawyer in client home country for some bizarre reason didn’t find any lawyer in the place where the estate property is situated, instead, that local lawyer found and hired a lawyer from Hong Kong. Why the hell did you hire a Hong Kong lawyer for the estate inheritance in China mainland? Most Hong Kong lawyers don’t know anything about China laws at all, as Hong Kong has its own set of distinct laws and regulations, completely different from those in the mainland of China. I guess the reason for the mistake is probably that the local lawyer assumes that Hong Kong lawyers speak English language and China mainland lawyers cannot speak English.
Naturally the Hong Kong lawyer in turn found a lawyer in China mainland to work on the inheritance matter. No wonder the client was bewildered about the legal bill easily getting fat.
Just feel perplexed about the whole stupid story. For the local lawyer in client home country, he should have no problem of doing a little more search on internet to find a Chinese lawyer who really understands estate administration and inheritance, and there are quote a lot of people available on Google. For the Hong Kong lawyer, man, you don’t have to make this money out of the case, be generous enough to refer your mainland contact to the said local lawyer.
This is a hard lesson to learn.