Resealing a foreign Grant of Probate

With an ever increasing number of people opting to move abroad, it is more and more common to come across a situation where a person dies overseas but leaves assets registered in England.

If the deceased has died outside the UK, the procedure to obtain probate can vary significantly depending upon where the deceased was permanently living at the date of death.

The authority to administer the estate of a person who lived overseas is conferred by Grant of Representation from the country of their domicile. However, when the deceased also owned assets in England or Wales (such as a property, bank accounts or shareholdings) it may also be necessary to obtain authority from the UK Probate Registry to deal with those assets by obtaining a ‘Reseal’ of the foreign Grant. When a reseal has been obtained, it allows an executor or administrator to gain access to assets registered in the country which has issued the reseal.

Resealing a Grant of Probate

Resealing is a fast and efficient way to obtain recognition of a local probate document by the English courts, which will then enable the executor or their attorney to gain access to the assets registered in England.

If the deceased was living in a Commonwealth country for example the Bahamas, then it may be possible to apply to the Probate Registry to ‘reseal’ the overseas Grant rather than apply for a separate Grant to release and distribute the assets in England and Wales.

​​Obtaining a Grant of Probate in the UK

If the deceased died in a non-Commonwealth country and it is not possible to reseal the foreign Grant then a full application for Grant of Representation will be required.

This can be a complex process because the overseas inheritance procedures may have  be  explained to the UK Probate Court so as to ensure Probate is granted to the correct person.

The UK Probate Court will require an Affidavit of Foreign Law and a full understanding of the inheritance process involved in the Country of the deceased. They will also require Court sealed papers showing who has been appointed to deal with the estate with a translation in English.

Should you require assistance with the administration of any assets held abroad, whether you believe a reseal is required or not, please get in touch with the our Probate team at Birkett Long, who would be happy to discuss the available services and any queries you may have about international estate administration.

Call Emma Clarke today for a free 15 minute consultation on 01245 453833.


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Why Birkett Long

At Birkett Long, we have a strong relationship with many clients throughout the world, which has resulted in our firm acquiring experience in conducting reseal applications and cross-border estate administrations.

Although resealing can first appear to be a straightforward exercise, the following provides a few reasons as to why our professional assistance is recommended:

  • If a foreign executor attempts to submit an English inheritance tax return or account, which is then completed incorrectly or the incorrect form is submitted, they may be committing a criminal offence. We would also strongly recommend that a professional is instructed if the estate is taxable in the UK.
  • If a foreign executor obtains a reseal in England, they may then face difficulty when dealing with certain assets, which are registered in England. For example, stocks and shares or transfers of land. If one of our professionals is instructed to deal with both the reseal application and the administration of the English assets, this can expedite the process and have economic advantages.
  • Certain local courts issue specific types of court order, which may first appear to be unsuitable for resealing. However, certain Elections to administer estates sealed by the courts in Australia and New Zealand may be accepted (but not all!). We will be able to advise on which court orders can be accepted or seek permission from the court on your behalf.
  • If the probate document and will are in a foreign language (a common example is Afrikaans), then appropriate English translations will be required. The court has quite specific requirements for the format of the translations and who can provide them.
  • Other circumstances may first require the permission of the English court to proceed. For example, if the local probate document is limited in any way or issued only for a temporary duration.
  • Although resealing is commonly associated with the United Kingdom or the British Isles, it is worth noting that resealing is only possible in England and Wales

If you are in a position where you feel that resealing may be appropriate or you require advice on your alternative options, please contact our probate team and it will be a pleasure to assist and provide a quote for our services.

Staff re-order for reseal grant of probate


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