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Obtaining a grant in England and Wales for foreign domiciles

Pen lying on a contract or application form, wide angle view.

When someone passes away, their estate (including assets such as property, bank accounts and investments) needs to be administered. If the deceased had assets in England and Wales, obtaining a grant is usually required. There are various different types of grant such as a grant of probate and a grant of letters of administration which are the most commonly known. This legal document allows the personal representatives to manage and distribute the estate according to the deceased’s wishes or the rules of intestacy.

Resealing foreign grants of probate in England and Wales

When dealing with the administration of assets in England and Wales, the personal representatives of a deceased individual typically needs either an English grant of representation or the resealing of a foreign grant that may have already been issued in the jurisdiction where the deceased lived.

The resealing process applies to grants issued in various jurisdictions, most of which have historical or current ties to the Commonwealth. The applicable jurisdictions are listed in the Colonial Probates Act Application Order 1965. Interestingly, even South African grants, although not explicitly listed, can be resealed. A resealed grant holds the same legal weight as an English grant and serves the same purpose.

Who can receive a resealed grant?

A resealed grant can be issued to:

  • The Estate Administrator –the person responsible for managing the estate where the deceased was domiciled.
  • Beneficiaries – those entitled to the estate under the laws of the deceased’s domicile.
  • Executors named in the will – if the will is in English or Welsh.
  • Executors according to the will’s tenor – applicable for wills in any language.

In cases where the applicant doesn’t meet these criteria, resealing can only occur with the permission of a District Judge or Probate Registrar.

Types of foreign grants eligible for resealing

The Probate Registry can reseal:
• The Original Foreign Grant
• An Official Copy of the Foreign Grant – bearing the seal of the issuing court
• A Certified Copy Grant – verified by the authority of the issuing court
• An Exemplification of the Original Grant
Ideally, if there is a will, it should be attached to the grant. If not, a certified or sealed copy of the will (already proved) must be submitted, clearly identified as such. For wills not in English, a notarial translation or an affidavit-verified translation is necessary.
Once resealing has taken place, the foreign grant is legally effective for managing assets in England and Wales.

Resealing foreign grants – considerations and limitations

Eligibility for resealing

While resealing foreign grants is a common practice, it’s essential to recognise that not all grants are eligible. Jurisdictions not listed in the 1965 Order generally fall outside the scope of resealing. For instance, grants issued in the Channel Islands cannot be resealed. If this is the case, a separate application for a Grant of Probate issued in England and Wales is required.

Language requirement

The Probate Registry will only reseal foreign grants if they are in the English language. This ensures consistency and clarity during the legal process.


Limited or temporary grants are not eligible for resealing. Additionally, grants issued to more than four applicants cannot undergo resealing.

Northern Irish and Scottish grants

If a grant from Northern Ireland or Scotland explicitly states that the deceased was domiciled there, it is recognised in England and Wales without the need for resealing.

Inheritance tax – reporting the estate

When handling the administration of assets in England and Wales, personal representatives of a deceased individual must also submit an Inheritance Tax Return. This can be necessary even if no Inheritance Tax is payable on the assets held in England and Wales.

The type of Inheritance Tax return required depends on the nature and value of the assets in England and Wales, as well as the deceased’s former connections with the UK.

After preparing the Inheritance Tax return and submitting the necessary paperwork to the Probate Registry it typically takes one to two months for the Probate Registry to issue the resealed grant, but this can take longer due to current delays.

Currently, the application fee payable to the Probate Registry to apply for a grant or resealing a grant is £273. Additionally, there is an extra charge of £1.50 for each additional copy of the grant required.

Our Private Client team at Trethowans are experienced in helping you complete the process as quickly and smoothly as possible. If you have any queries regarding applying to reseal a foreign grant or otherwise applying for a grant in England and Wales for a foreign domicile, call our team today on 0800 2800 421.

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