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5 Steps to getting a Grant of Probate resealed in the UK

When someone dies who owns assets in England and Wales (ie bank account, shares, property etc), it is usually necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate to deal with the assets.

If the person who died did not live permanently in the UK, a Grant of Probate (or equivalent document) may have already been obtained in the country where the deceased person lived.

The UK does not recognise foreign Grants of Probate, however if the foreign Grant was obtained in another Commonwealth county, it may be possible to ‘reseal’ the foreign grant in the UK .

Resealing a foreign grant of probate in England is quicker that applying for a new English Grant.

It is not possible to reseal probate when dealing with UK assets where the deceased is from a non-Commonwealth country.

How to reseal a grant of probate in the UK

Resealing the foreign probate gives the executor or administrator (or equivalent) the legal authority in the UK to deal with the UK assets.

Resealing is literally the ‘sealing again’ of the foreign grant by the English probate registry. The foreign grant itself will have been sealed with the seal of the foreign probate registry and after the reseal application has been made and accepted, the English probate registry adds their seal to the foreign grant. This seal allows the banks, share registrars, land registries etc in the UK to recognise the Grant and release the assets to the executors name on the foreign grant.

It is usual to instruct a lawyer based in England to obtain the reseal.

5 steps to resealing a foreign grant of probate in England:

  1. A letter of authority is prepared which is to be signed by the person named on the foreign grant, confirming that they agree for the UK lawyer to apply for the reseal.
  2. Prepare a power of attorney to be signed by the executor if they wish us to administer the English asset once the re-sealed grant has been issued.
  3. The UK Inheritance Tax (“IHT”) forms will need to be prepared to notify the UK tax authority (HMRC) of the value of the assets held in the UK; this is necessary even if there is no UK IHT to pay.
  4. Submission of the IHT forms to HMRC and payment of any IHT due (the IHT can usually be paid from the cash assets held in the UK).
  5. Submit the reseal application to the English Probate Registry.

Documents required for a UK reseal application:

  • the signed letter of authority
  • the relevant IHT form
  • the original (or original court sealed) foreign grant.
  • the original (or court sealed copy) of the will (if any).
  • an appropriate translation of the will (this is obviously only required if the will is not already in English.
  • Court fees

Once the foreign grant has been resealed, this can be sent to the bank/ share registrar/ land registry holding the deceased assets with instructions from the person named on the resealed grant about the what should be done with the asset.

If you have been asked to have your grant of probate resealed in the UK, we would be delighted to help. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on 01244 470 339 or email info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk. Our experienced team will be happy to assist you.

Author: Sara Janion, overseas legal expert, solicitor and Notary Public