The Ecclesiastical Court is described as being at least as old as the Royal Court, dating back more than 900 years when Guernsey was still part of the Diocese of Coutances in Normandy.
The probate or "proving" function of the Guernsey Court is believed to exist nowhere else as such matters have all been handed over elsewhere to civil authorities. In 1985 a committee set up by the States of Guernsey reported that this Church Court should be allowed to continue its services in respect of wills of personality as the system which it provides is efficient, speedy, and impartial.
In case of individuals domiciled outside of Guernsey it may be appropriate to consider the use of two wills, one appointing a local executor to deal with the local estate in the client's country of domicile and the other dealing with all estate outside of the country of domicile. In the case of the latter will, the appointment as executor of a fiduciary in Guernsey can be advantageous, particularly where onerous restrictions apply in the client's own country of domicile. It may be necessary to produce with the application for probate of the will in Guernsey an affidavit of foreign law from a lawyer conversant with the law of the country of domicile to establish the validity of the will.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
For further information contact Peter Crook on Tel: +44 (0) 1481 712706 or visit the Guernsey Financial Services Commission Web Site at: