What is resealing?
‘Resealing’ is the legal process by which a foreign grant of representation/probate (or equivalent, this would be a document confirming the executors right to administer the deceased’s estate) is sealed by the probate registry, therefore, enabling it to be used for the collection of English and Welsh assets. This process can be easier than applying for a separate English grant of probate but can also have its complications.
A grant of probate or its equivalent if issued from a court not in England it will not automatically be accepted by the institution holding the English assets. In some cases, it would be quicker and more efficient to have the Document issued by a court in another country recognised by the English Court. After which it can be used to access the English assets.
For example, if the deceased was domiciled in Canada but had a registered bank account in England, the Canadian Letters of probate may not be accepted by the financial institution. Therefore, the alternative to applying for English grant of probate would be having the Canadian letters of probate resealed. This would provide the executor with the English courts Authority to access the assets held in the bank account.
We have solicitors on our panel that have experience in conducting reseal applications and cross-border estate administrations.
When can you reseal?
The option of resealing is not available for all foreign grants, for example, a grant of probate from the USA, Spain, France and many others cannot be resealed. In these cases, a separate application must be made in each country.
The English courts or probate registry are only permitted to reseal a foreign Grant of probate or its equivalent legal document, from a Country recognised by the UK’s Colonial Probate Acts. This covers territories currently under British Jurisdiction but also includes former colonies. The most common Reseal Applications that we apply for are from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa.
A reseal will not be granted on a grant of probate (or equivalent) that has any restrictions or limitations applied to it, for example, if it is a temporary document.
Who can apply to reseal?
In most cases an application for a probate document to be resealed can be made by one or more persons named in the original grant, this is normally one of the following
• The executor named in the Will
• A person or legal professional entrusted with the administration of the estate by the court in the country the deceased was domiciled
• A beneficiary entitled to inherit from the estate under the law of the country the deceased was domiciled
What documents are required?
- The local probate Document
The probate registry is strict on what type of foreign document is acceptable in these cases. You should use the original probate document granted in the country of domicile if you have it. However, it can sometimes be hard to get the original, in that circumstance a court sealed, and certificated copy is acceptable. It is worth bearing in mind that only grants written in the English language are eligible for resealing.
It is common practice for the original Will to be kept at the court in the country that probate was originally applied and granted, in its place you should use a court sealed and certified copy. Most courts will also require photocopies of the will and in some cases, you should provide a certified translation if the will is written in another language. Final duties can arrange for a certified translation of the will as part of our full administration process.
It is recommended for the Will to be physically attached to avoid any questioning of the grant and will being related to the same deceased.
If the deceased left no will, you will only need to provide the probate document.
The death certificate
You should also provide a certified copy of the death certificate. If the death certificate is in another language than that of the court, you are applying for the reseal you should provide a certified translated copy. Final duties can arrange for a certified translated copy of the death certificate as part of our full administration process.
Letter of Authority
A letter of authority is a document that is signed by the executor confirming the authority of a selected person to act on their behalf. You will need to provide this to the court if you are using a solicitor to administer the estate that is located in England.
One of our solicitors will prepare the letter of authority for the executor to sign.
The appropriate inheritance tax return or estate accounts
When having a grant resealed the usual inheritance tax procedures apply. Therefore, H M revenue and customs must be provided with the correct tax information for the estate held in England. Providing incorrect tax information can result in penalties or in serious cases as a criminal offence.
When dealing with assets in more than one country evaluating the correct tax liability can be complicated and it can be easier to miss exemptions you may be entitled to or make a mistake. The solicitor will work out your tax liability and explain any complications during the process to ensure that the estate is administered correctly and according to the law.