With the changes of Brexit and an increasing number of people choosing to retire and live abroad, it is becoming very common that they keep their assets in England for a “rainy day”! But how would their loved ones access the English estate when they are domiciled abroad?
Much will depend on where the deceased was permanently living at the date of their death. In order to administer an estate of a person, the Executors or Administrators would need to extract a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration from their country of domicile. In order to access the English estate which may comprise of property, bank accounts or investments, it will be necessary to go through a process of seeking the authority from the English Courts to the “Resealing” of a foreign Grant. If the country of domicile is listed in The Colonial Probates Act 1893, then the above process can take place.
An alternative route, should the deceased have died outside of the current or most former Commonwealth countries, would be to apply and extract a full Grant of Representation from the English Courts. Part of the process is that the Courts will need to be satisfied both on the domicile of the deceased and that the applicant extracting the Grant has the correct authority to do so. An Affidavit of Foreign Law will need to be obtained from the country of the deceased’s domicile as part of the application.
The above processes are quite complex, however with the right guidance and technical assistance the application would be successful.
Once the Grant has been resealed or extracted, then we will be in a position to realise such assets in England and distribute to your loved ones.
Our Private client team at Bowling & Co have dealt with a number of the above applications from various jurisdictions including Ghana, France, Jamaica, Gibraltar New Zealand and Cayman Islands.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.