We provide a comprehensive Will drafting service for clients who are domiciled outside Jersey and Guernsey but who have movable assets situate in the Islands. Jersey and Guernsey movable assets can include bank accounts in the Islands, stocks and shares in companies incorporated in, or with their Registrars based here in the Islands and other tangible assets.
Jersey and Guernsey are not part of the United Kingdom and are separate independent jurisdictions for probate purposes.
DO I NEED A JERSEY WILL?
It is not essential for you to have a separate will to cover your Channel Island assets especially if you already have a validly executed Will which covers your entire estate including Jersey and Guernsey and is validly executed. However there are benefits to having a separate Channel Islands Will.
When a person dies leaving assets in the Islands with a value over £10,000, the Channel Islands asset holders will require a Jersey or Guernsey Grant of Probate or (if the deceased did not leave a Will) Grant of Letters of Administration to enable them to release the assets to the Court appointed personal representative or heirs of the deceased. This Grant indemnifies the Bank against claims from other sources.
In Jersey, the person entitled to apply for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is required to make the application by making a personal appearance in the Royal Court of Jersey in order to swear the necessary Oath. If the Personal Representative is unable or unwilling to fly to Jersey in order to do so, they will need to appoint a local agent to attend the Court appointment on their behalf.
If there is a Jersey Will that appoints a local Executor, this process is much easier and is therefore a more time and cost effective way of dealing with the Jersey estate. It means that if we hold the Will, we only need a death certificate and can then make the application, obtain the Grant and realise the assets within a few weeks.
If a person passes away leaving only one Will covering his worldwide estate, the normal procedure is for this to first be proved in the Court in the relevant country of domicile. The original Grant (or equivalent) issued by this Court or a Court sealed and certified copy needs to be obtained for use in the Jersey or Guernsey application. A number of other documents are also required before the application can be made. This adds time and expense to the probate procedure. If a person has multiple Wills, these can be proved in the relevant jurisdictions concurrently which again can make the administration of the estate easier and quicker.
WHAT CAN THE WILL COVER?
A Will prepared by Carey Olsen will now cover your assets in both Jersey and Guernsey. It can also be extended to cover other offshore jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man, or Cayman Islands. If you wish us to extend the Will further to cover assets situate in jurisdictions outside your country of domicile, we can do so however you should be aware that the Will may then need to be submitted to Probate in each relevant jurisdiction in which the assets are based.
If you have immovable property (real estate) abroad we strongly advise that you instruct a lawyer qualified in the law of the country in which the property is located to prepare a Will to cover that property. The succession of immovable property is governed by the law of the country in which the property is located rather than the law of your country of domicile so it is important to ensure the Will is valid to cover this.
It is advisable to record your legal domicile in a Jersey Will. If you are domiciled in Australia, Canada or the United States of America, we need to know which state or province you are domiciled in.
Your domicile for probate and legal purposes is different from your residence. It is where you consider your permanent home to be, and will usually be where you intend to retire to and spend your final days.
Your domicile is important as the rights to inherit assets are usually governed by the provisions of the law of a person's country of domicile and will also determine the validity of claims against your assets after you die. The laws of your jurisdiction of domicile may also determine the taxes that are payable on your world-wide estate.
An executor is the person named in the Will and who is charged with the responsibility of collecting in your assets, paying any debts and distributing the balance of the estate to your beneficiaries. You may appoint one or more individuals to be your executors and they may be members of your family and/or beneficiaries of your Will and/or professional persons in your own jurisdiction.
Carey Olsen Executors Jersey Limited is our in-house executorship company and provides an independent executorship service if required. If the Will is dealing with your Channel Island assets it is recommended that we are appointed as Executor to simplify the process of obtaining probate in the Islands.
We require the full names and addresses of all your beneficiaries, their ages and dates of birth if they are under 18 and the maiden names of any married women mentioned in the Will. Your beneficiaries may consist of individuals, charities or trustees of a trust.
It is usual to name one or more primary beneficiaries (such as spouse, parents or siblings) and then substitutional beneficiaries (such as children) who will inherit in the event of your primary beneficiary/ies predeceasing you.
Changes of address, or names on marriage, of the testator or beneficiaries do not require the Will to be updated, but it is useful for us to be informed in order to ensure our records are kept up to date.
Anti-money laundering legislation in Jersey requires us to obtain client identification for our clients in the form of a certified copy passport or driving licence (photographic ID) and a utility bill or bank statement (of no more than three months old) confirming your residential address for our file. Your bank in Jersey may be able to forward certified copies of this documentation to us on your behalf but you will need to personally instruct them to do so.
It is useful for us to have a list of your assets and where they are situated. We do not list these in your Will as they are subject to change but they are a useful starting point when it comes to administering your estate.
Any assets that are in joint names will normally pass automatically to the survivor but without Wills in place it can be uncertain who inherits if joint asset holders die together, for instance in a common accident.
Our fees for drafting a Will are time-costed at the fee earners hourly rate. For a straightforward simple Will of no more than two pages the cost is likely to be between £300 and £500. If the Will is more complex, requires trust clauses to be inserted, or extensive legal advice is sought, the cost may exceed this. The drafting of a Discretionary Trust or Will Trust is likely to cost in excess of £1,500.
Where two people require mirror Wills, the second Will is generally drafted at minimal extra cost. Please contact us for more information.
STORAGE OF WILLS
We have a safe custody facility in our offices where we can keep your Will at no extra charge. It is inadvisable to store your Will at home where it could get lost, stolen or inadvertently destroyed.
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.