Dec 06 2019

Back to Basics: Resealing a Foreign Grant of Probate

General News
Back to Basics: Resealing a Foreign Grant of Probate
Resealing a foreign grant of probate occurs when someone has died outside the UK but has assets registered in England or Wales to administer. The executor or administrator (or equivalent) must obtain the legal authority to manage the assets left in the UK. Instead of re-applying for a grant of probate in the UK, the UK Probate Registry may be able to “reseal” the foreign grant of probate, depending in which jurisdiction the original grant was issued.  The method of “resealing a foreign grant” is quicker than having to apply for probate afresh if available to the executors. 
 
NSS Legal can help you to understand and advise on the complications when applying to reseal a foreign grant of probate. This article will explain some of the fundamental aspects when resealing a Grant of Probate and the requirements for an application to be made.
 

What is a Grant of Probate?

A grant of probate is the official authorisation for the personal representatives to manage the estate left behind by a deceased person and administer it according to their Will. The grant is usually sealed in the country in which it is issued. 
 
In the UK, asset holders may only accept a UK Grant of Probate to administer assets here.  
 

What Does the Term Resealing Mean?

Resealing is a legal procedure completed by the English Probate Registry to reseal grants of probate  (or the equivalent) issued by foreign Probate Registries.  The resealed grant can then be used to realise the assets in England and Wales. 
 
It is a simplified process meaning the personal representatives don’t have to submit a full probate application and instead use the existing probate document granted in the foreign jurisdiction.
 

In What Circumstances Would the Reseal of a Foreign Grant of Probate Occur?

The procedure depends on where the original grant was issued. If the person has passed away in either a commonwealth or a previously recognised commonwealth country, the grant of probate produced by the foreign country may be suitable to be resealed in the English Probate Registry. The country must be recognised by the  Colonial Probates Act. 
 
The countries whose grants can be resealed in the English Probate Registry include:
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Kenya
  • South Africa
Not all foreign grants of probate can be resealed. Where this is the case, a full application for a grant of probate may be required to administer UK assets, and this will include submitting the appropriate inheritance tax form to HMRC.
 

Who Would be Responsible for Applying to Reseal the Foreign Grant of Probate?

The person who is named in the original grant will most likely create an application. This could be:
  • The executor in the Will
  • A legal professional who has been officially assigned with the administration of the estate in the country where the deceased permanently resided.
  • A beneficiary who will be inheriting from the estate in the country where the deceased permanently resided.

What are the Document Requirements for Resealing a Foreign Grant of Probate?

There are a number of documents required for the application. A formal translation will also need to be produced if the document is not in English. 
 
The following documents will be needed as part of the application:
 

The Foreign Grant

Ideally, this would be the original document issued in the country of domicile. Where this is not possible, a court sealed, and certificated version or an exemplification of the grant can be accepted.
 

The Death Certificate

A certified copy will be required.
 

The Will

Where there is a valid Will, a court sealed, and certified copy should be obtained as it is common practise for the original document to remain in the country the grant was applied in.
 

The Letter of Authority

This is a document signed by the person who has the legal authority to deal with the administration of the estate.  This is usually the person named on the foreign grant.  This letter enables a solicitor to act on behalf of the estate’s representatives and confirms authority is given for the foreign grant to be resealed.
 

Inheritance Tax Return  and Probate Registry Fee

The relevant inheritance tax form will need to be prepared and filed with HMRC.  Any inheritance tax which is due will also need to be settled before HMRC will issue the receipt needed as part of the reseal application. The appropriate Probate Registry fee will need to be paid. 
 
As expert solicitors in Probate Law, we can guide you further on which process would be the most appropriate to administer UK assets.
 
NSS Legal act as trusted advisors to families for a range of legal matters including Lasting Powers of Attorney, lifetime and inheritance tax planning and Will drafting. For advice on the implications of having a Lasting Power of Attorney, take a look at our article
 

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