In recent years, British citizens have emigrated to far reaching parts of the world in search of a better life. Additionally, in modern times, England has become an attractive hub for foreign investors. When individuals residing abroad pass away leaving behind assets in England and Wales, an English Grant of Probate may be required in their estate to realise the deceased’s investments.
What is ‘re-sealing a Grant of Probate’ and why is this important?
‘Re-sealing a Grant of Probate’ means that the foreign Grant of Probate is re-issued by the English Probate Registry so that it can be used in England and Wales. Essentially, the foreign Grant of Probate is sent to the English courts and is approved by them without the inconvenience and expense of undertaking a completely new English Grant of Probate. Inheritance Tax may still need to be paid.
For the re-sealing to be successful, the foreign Grant of Probate must have been issued by the courts of the country of the deceased’s place of domicile.
In the UK, there are three jurisdictions:
1- England and Wales
3- Northern Ireland
A Grant of Probate obtained in any of the above jurisdictions will be recognised in the other parts of the UK as long as the deceased died domiciled in that UK country. Therefore, re-sealing is not required.
You will note, for example, that the Isle of Man is not within the UK.
Eligible foreign countries
As discussed above, if a Grant of Probate has already been obtained in a foreign jurisdiction, it may be possible to use this in England and Wales after it has been through a process called the re-sealing of a Grant of Probate. Not all foreign countries can have a Grant of Probate issued then re-sealed in England and Wales.
Generally, the eligible foreign countries are Commonwealth countries. Jurisdictions where the Probate can be re-sealed include but are not limited to:
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- Various Caribbean Islands
- Hong Kong
Eligible applicants for re-sealing the Grant of Probate
Usually, the person(s) named on the foreign Grant of Probate become the English legal personal representatives, responsible for administering the deceased’s estate (dealing with the property, money and possessions) in England and Wales. However, only certain persons qualify to apply for the re-sealing of a Grant of Probate in England and Wales and, therefore, this must be checked prior to any application.
Here to answer your questions
Please contact us if you are in doubt about the process of re-sealing a Grant of Probate. We can help you determine whether a foreign Grant of Probate is eligible to be re-sealed; whether you, as an applicant, can re-seal a foreign Grant of Probate; if there is any Inheritance Tax due to HM Revenue and Customs. We can also help with queries on non-domiciled Grant of Probate applications more generally; and any other queries regarding the English estate of a foreign person.
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We can help you determine whether a foreign Grant of Probate is eligible to be re-sealed.
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