A Grant of Probate is a document issued by the Court that gives legal authority to the executors of an estate appointed through a Will to deal with the affairs of the deceased.
With this document, the executors can go on to encash the deceased’s assets and finalise their affairs.
Grants of Probate issued abroad
If someone has passed away abroad but they held assets in England and Wales, it may be the case that a Grant of Probate, or that countries equivalent, has been issued in their country of domicile.
Institutions in England and Wales, however, would not recognise a Grant which has been issued in another country. If a Grant was issued in a Commonwealth country the Colonial Probates Act 1893 enables the resealing of a Grant made in a number of countries and territories, in England and Wales.
This reseal would then allow for the English assets to be dealt with, such as closing bank accounts, selling shares and dealing with property.
Countries outside of the Commonwealth would require a new English or Welsh Grant of Probate to be obtained to deal with any UK assets. If this is the case, the English or Welsh Probate Registry would need to ensure that the person applying for the Grant is the correct person to apply on the basis of that country.
In both cases, it is important to understand and be able to determine the domicile of the deceased which can be time-consuming and complex.
Seeking legal advice
It is important to get the correct legal advice when dealing with an application to the Probate Registry, as the following steps need to be taken:
- Preparing inheritance tax account and settling any inheritance tax due with HMRC.
- Submitting an application to the Probate Registry to either reseal an existing Grant or apply for a new Grant ensuring the relevant Non-Contentious Probate Rules and domicile are complied with.
Once the Grant has been obtained then it will be accepted by third party institutions in England and Wales.