Aug 31 2023

Resealing a Foreign Grant of Probate

General News
Resealing a Foreign Grant of Probate
When someone dies domiciled outside of the UK but has assets in England or Wales, the foreign grant of probate may need to be resealed before it can be used with the UK assets. 
As probate solicitors in Golders Green, we can help you navigate this process and advise on how to most appropriately administer UK assets. If available to the executors, resealing a foreign grant of probate is quicker than having to apply for probate afresh. 

What Does it Mean to Reseal a Grant of Probate? 

A grant of representation is the official authorisation for the personal representatives to manage the deceased’s estate and administer it according to their Will (or intestacy or succession laws). In the UK, asset holders (i.e. banks or pension/insurance companies) will usually only accept a UK grant.
Resealing a foreign grant of probate provides the personal representatives with the legal authority to manage the deceased’s UK assets. 
Grants of probate are ‘sealed’ in the county in which they’re issued. ‘Resealing’ is enacted by the Probate Registry in England and Wales, effectively allows a foreign grant of probate to be used in the UK and will be accepted by UK asset holders. 
It is a simplified process that means personal representatives don’t have to submit a full inheritance tax account in regard to the probate application, and can instead use the existing probate document issued in the foreign jurisdiction.

Who Can Apply to Reseal a Foreign Grant of Probate in the UK? 

Whether or not you can apply for reseal will depend on which country the deceased died in and where the original grant was issued.  

The Colonial Probates Act 

If the original grant was issued in a commonwealth or previously recognised commonwealth country, the Colonial Probates Act means it is likely possible for the Probate Registry in England and Wales to reseal it. 
The Colonial Probates Act covers 70 jurisdictions, including: 
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Kenya
  • South Africa
  • Canada

Countries Not Included in The Colonial Probates Act 

If not recognised by the Colonial Probates Act, it is unlikely the foreign grant 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. 

How to Reseal a Foreign Grant of Probate

To reseal a foreign grant, an application will need to be submitted to the Probate Registry in England and Wales, as well as completing the relevant inheritance tax form.

Who Can Apply to Reseal Foreign Grants of Probate? 

The person named in the original grant will most likely create this new application. This may 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.

Which Documents Do You Need to Apply For A Foreign Grant of Probate?

There are several probate documents required as part of the application. A formal translation is also necessary if the original documents are not written in English. 
  1. The foreign grant 
  2. The death certificate 
  3. The Will 
  4. The letter of authority 
  5. Inheritance tax returns 
  6. Probate Registry fee
Any copies of the sent documents will either need to be originals or need to be properly sealed or certified.
Inheritance tax returns must be filed with HMRC, even if there is no tax to pay, before the application can be made. The appropriate form will depend on the value and/or types of assets involved.

How Much is the Probate Registry Fee? 

If the value of the estate exceeds £5,000, there is a probate application fee of £273. For estates valued at £5,000 or less, there is no application fee. Court sealed copies of the probate document cost £1.50 per document.

How Long Does it Take to Reseal a Foreign Grant of Probate?

Grants of probate are usually issued within 16 weeks of making your application. However, the process may take longer if additional information or documents are needed. 

How Can NSS Legal Help? 

Our specialist probate solicitors can guide you through the resealing process and help prepare and submit the application. Our team will assist with: 
  • Reviewing the foreign documents and advising on the possibility of a reseal. 
  • Liaising with foreign jurisdictions.
  • Preparing the application and advising on the relevant documents.
  • Liaising with HMRC where relevant. 
  • Submitting the application to the Probate Registry and checking the resealed grant. 
  • Collecting and distributing the assets to personal representatives. 
If you require our expertise, please contact us to find out more about our services.

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