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7th August 2023

Resealing a foreign grant of probate in England and Wales

Resealing a foreign grant of probate in England and Wales
Amy Taylor
Amy Taylor
Probate Manager

What is a resealed grant of probate?

A resealed grant of probate is a grant of probate from a foreign jurisdiction that has been re-issued by the Probate Registry in England and Wales so that it can be used to administer assets situated in England and Wales.

Why would you want to reseal a foreign grant of probate in England and Wales?

If a UK national permanently lived and died abroad and a grant of probate has been obtained in the country that they died in, a grant of probate may still be needed in England and Wales if they held assets here that need to be managed or collected in as part of the administration process of their estate. 

An example of this could be someone who had emigrated to Australia a number of years ago and had established their home there, but when they died still had several bank accounts in the UK with money in and the banks require a Grant of Probate to close the bank accounts and release the funds. 

If a grant of probate has been obtained in a country in which the Colonial Probates Act 1892 and the Colonial Probates (Protected States and Mandated Territories) Act 1927 applies, the personal representatives can avoid having to get a completely new grant of probate in England and Wales and can simply get the foreign grant of probate resealed instead. This can be quicker than drafting a completely new probate application for England and Wales.

What countries’ grants of probate can be resealed in England and Wales?

Schedule 1 of The Colonial Probates Act Application Order 1965 sets all the countries whose grants can be resealed. There are 70 jurisdictions in total, including:

  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Cayman Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Hong Kong
  • New Zealand
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • South Africa

Many of the countries listed are old commonwealth countries and the Act applies even though most of them have obtained their independence from the UK.

How do you reseal a foreign grant of probate in England and Wales?

The procedure for resealing a foreign grant of probate is set out under rule 39 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987.

Who can apply?

An application under the Colonial Probates Acts 1892 and 1927 for the resealing of probate or administration granted by the court of a country to which those Acts apply may be made by the person to whom the grant was made or by any person authorised in writing to apply on his behalf. 

However, the application process is slightly tricky and it is best to speak to a private client lawyer if you are interested in this service.