07 December 2018 - Article
England and Wales, 1997
Hong Kong SAR, 1998
British Virgin Islands, 2014
Michelle regularly lectures on philanthropy and charity law issues, as well as writing articles for the press. She has spoken at numerous conference in Hong Kong and overseas, including the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) seminars and conferences, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) conferences and various university programs on NGO management.
Law Society of Hong Kong
Law Society of Hong Kong, Pro Bono Committee
Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners
Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners - STEP Philanthropy Group
Hong Kong Council of Social Service WiseGiving, Steering Committee
Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital, Hospital Governing Committee
Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Hospital Governing Committee
Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Charity Foundation, Board Member
Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Social Services Limited, Board Member
Friends of the Harp Limited, Board Member
Numerous University lectures on NGO management programmes
‘Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)’ seminars and conferences
‘Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)’ conferences
Me in a minute
I count myself extremely fortunate to be part of Withers' global philanthropy and charity team.
Hong Kong is a buzzing city, but its wealth gap is one of the biggest in the world. Working as both a wealth planner and a charity lawyer in Hong Kong, I am honored to be able to help clients who build their own wealth through successful businesses or inheritance. No matter how they make their money, I enjoy advising them to plan carefully to achieve their goals – i.e. to pass their wealth down to their families and charities.
I always advise my clients to be fair in order to avoid potential conflicts in the family. In the old days, only Chinese males could inherit the family’s wealth. Some women may be grateful to me for successfully persuading their grandpa to give not only to boys, but girls too! As a wealth planner, one can become the family’s trusted advisor. A client who comes to me to plan his philanthropic endeavors may end up establishing a discretionary trust, receiving US tax advice and getting his daughter’s pre-nuptial agreement done! I treasure the relationship and friendship that can develop over the years, and learn so much from advising my elderly clients in particular. I was so touched when a client tracked me down 15 years after I set up his father’s trust, to re-organise the trust as the family expands.
Another area I am passionate about is philanthropy. I count myself extremely fortunate to be part of Withers’ global philanthropy and charity team. Colleagues from different offices have worked with me on my clients’ global charity projects. Some parents may say to their children "If you are up to no good, I will donate all your inheritance!" Fortunately, my clients don’t use this as a threat; they are real philanthropists that get involved in the education sector, medical and health care, and even getting an old building listed and setting up a museum. My charity clients are extremely diverse - including universities and colleges, private individuals, family offices, bank trustees, hospitals, churches and museums.
I come from a family of many lawyers. My father was a lawyer and, even though he is retired, is still deeply involved in schools and hospitals. I am a governor of two public hospitals, and an elderly home, run my harp charity that I co-founded 10 years ago and enjoy doing harp outreach to schools, hospitals and elderly homes to bring music to people and provide harp lessons to those who cannot otherwise afford them. Being involved in charities helps me understand my clients’ philanthropic goals and challenges, so we can talk in the same language.