Resealing a Grant of Probate is an important legal process that enables someone to administer the estate of a deceased person in England and Wales using a foreign Grant of Probate. A Grant of Probate is a legal document that gives the executor of an estate the authority to manage the assets of the deceased person.
If a Grant of Probate is issued in a foreign country, it will not automatically be recognised in England and Wales. To use the Grant of Probate in England and Wales, it must be resealed by the UK Probate Registry. Resealing simply means that the foreign grant is reissued in a way that makes it effective to administer an estate in England and Wales. This avoids the expense and inconvenience of taking out a separate UK Grant of Probate.
It is important to note that not all foreign Grants of Probate can be resealed. Only countries where the Colonial Probates Act applies can have their Grants of Probate resealed. The Colonial Probates Act Application Order 1965 outlines the countries to which resealing applies. There are 70 jurisdictions in total, most of which are past and present Commonwealth countries. Even though many of these countries are now independent, the Act still applies because reciprocal arrangements are in place. This means that Grants issued in England and Wales can be resealed in other countries as well. Examples of countries where resealing applies include Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kenya, and South Africa. The full list can be found in Schedule 1 of The Colonial Probates Act Application Order 1965.
Resealing a foreign Grant of Probate can be a complex process, but with the right guidance, it can be completed efficiently and effectively. Here is a summary of steps you need to follow to reseal a foreign Grant of Probate:
- Determine if resealing is necessary: The first step is to determine if resealing is required by the country where the foreign Grant of Probate was issued. In most cases, resealing is necessary if the deceased person owned assets in the country where you wish to administer their estate.
- Obtain the necessary documents: You will need to obtain the original foreign Grant of Probate, along with a certified copy and any other required documents. You may also need to obtain a translation of these documents if they are not in English.
- Complete the application: You will need to complete an application for resealing, which will typically require you to provide information about the deceased person, the foreign Grant of Probate, and the assets located in the country where you wish to administer the estate.
- The application: You will need to submit the completed application, along with the original foreign Grant of Probate, certified copy, and any other required documents to the appropriate court or authority in the country where you wish to administer the estate.
- Wait for approval: The resealing process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the country where you are applying. Once your application is approved, you will receive a resealed Grant of Probate, which will allow you to administer the deceased person’s estate in that country.
While resealing a Grant of Probate is a necessary step to administer UK assets, it can be a time-consuming and demanding process. The steps outlined above provide only a simplified overview of the process, and in reality, it can be much more complicated.
The procedure for resealing grants is governed by Rule 39 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987, which is a comprehensive and sometimes complex set of rules. To ensure that the process is completed correctly and efficiently, it is highly recommended to seek professional advice from a legal professional who can demonstrate experience and knowledge of the process. A legal professional can assist with the preparation and submission of the necessary documents, advise on any potential issues or challenges that may arise during the process, and ensure that all legal requirements are met. They can also provide guidance on any tax implications or other considerations that may be relevant to the estate.
Resealing a Grant of Probate is a crucial step in administering a foreign estate that contains UK assets. By seeking professional advice, executors can avoid potential delays or legal issues that may arise during the resealing process.
To discuss in more detail please book a free initial probate consultation with a probate solicitor who can explain the process, confirm whether resealing is appropriate and provide a probate quote for further support.