Simon Says: Is Legal Representative Status Inheritable?

This is the fifth in a weekly series of legal advice provided in a short and entertaining story format.


This week's areas of Interest: Company, Corporate Law


This week's keywords: Business and Corporation Law, Laws of Corporation, Legal Representative.


Is Legal Representative Status Inheritable?


Jack is the legal representative of a Chinese multibillion dollar company. After reaching his fifties, he decided to get a six-month long holiday and go travelling with his wife, Jill. They went to Thailand to check out the ladyboys, Norway to see the Northern lights, and Switzerland to skydive.


It was all fun and games until Jack had a fatal accident while enjoyingdeep sea diving. He got attacked by a squid and lost his oxygen tank. His body couldn't be found.


A month after Jack’s death his lawyer contacted his son Alex to give him his inheritance. Alex was unhappy that his father didn’t leave him enough to spend. He wanted to inherit his father’s status and company as well. Angrily, he went up to his father’s closet friend, Ken, who was also on the board of directors.


Alex: I shall inherit my father’s company and be the new legal representative of the company. Get the documents ready for me to sign.


Ken: I am afraid that is not possible. We are truly sorry for his death, and as his best friend, I shall take good care of you.


Alex: What are you talking about? I am the only son, so all his things belong to me. I need to open a board meeting right now.


Ken: Kiddo, you have been watching too much soap dramas. This is not in the Tang Dynasty any more, and your father wasn’t the king. This is real life, and we are talking about a multibillion dollar company. Wake up. As the largest shareholder and director, I reject your request as decided by a board meeting last week. The decision is final.


Alex: I will get a lawyer to sue you.



Prof Simon Says:



In the above case, Alex shall not inherit his father’s status, and here are the reasons.


Firstly, legal representative is a position, but not a property on legal terms, and therefore cannot be inherited. What really happens after the death of Jack, will be the inauguration of a new legal representative according to company procedures, say by voting or by nomination as per board resolution.


Moreover, this position requires a professional expertise and experience, and Alex is by no means, up for this job. He has to slowly work his way up from the bottom, and earn this position. It would be chaos if he could really inherit it, as all the contracts and deals had to be signed by him and a stupid mistake would cost the company millions.


Simon Says - Episode 5: ACME Ardent's Simon Choi



For more about this or to contact Professor Simon Choi at,, +86 13823677853 or by WeChat: simonhkchoi. 


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"This article was originally written in Chinese by Mr Huanyu Li and rewritten into English by Simon Choi."


Simon Choi

About the Author: Professor Simon Choi

Prof Simon Choi, solicitor and linguist, is an international lawyer, qualified to practise law in England & Wales and in Hong Kong, China. Simon graduated from law schools of the Peking University, the University of London and the University of Hong Kong respectively, with an in-depth knowledge of Chinese laws and common laws and with more than 20 years experience in China practice and international trade, investment, finance, merger & acquisition. He is an adjunct professor of laws at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Simon is the founding partner of Acme Ardent and can be reached at or +86 13823677853.

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28 Mar 2017

By Simon Choi

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