You might think that a formal Grant of Probate issued in the UK
would be sufficient to release assets held in Jersey by your client
– unfortunately, the process is not quite as simple as
Because the Island is a separate jurisdiction, a separate Grant
of Probate is required unless the Jersey estate is worth less than
What that means in practical terms is a visit, in person, to the
Judicial Greffe (the clerk section) of Jersey's Royal
For UK practitioners, that process will be better handled by a
Jersey firm. It can take two separate visits for the procedures to
be completed, which in terms of time and expense from the
perspective of a UK-based firm, can be excessive. Jersey-based
firms such as Ogier have regular, standing appointments at the
Judicial Greffe to deal with probate issues.
On production of a UK Grant of Probate, the clerks will issue a
Jersey Grant of Probate through a "fast-track process",
which will enable any bank accounts or investments to be released
and distributed in accordance with the will.
This procedure covers moveable assets – ie money held in
Jersey bank accounts, and investments held in Jersey – but
for property assets, the process is more complicated.
For Jersey property, a Will that has been court-sealed and
certified in accordance with Jersey law will be required.
A further complication presents itself in the case of the
inheritance of Jersey property – anyone from outside of the
Island inheriting a property also inherits a right to occupy it,
despite Jersey's restrictions on residence. The right to occupy
an inherited property does not confer wider residency rights on the
inheritor – they cannot occupy other properties in the Island
on the basis of their inheritance.
They are also restricted from selling the inherited property for
"a year and a day" from the date that the will is
registered, in case a dispute arises because a separate will has
been discovered which leaves the property to someone else. In most
cases, this restriction can be circumvented by the taking out of an
appropriate insurance policy.
Without a properly registered will, or in the event of any
irregularities with the will, the deceased will be held to have
died intestate, and an administrator – usually the surviving
spouse or eldest child – will be appointed by the court to
deal with inheritance issues.
It is clear that these procedures are not universally understood
and adhered to, which has the potential to cause difficulties in
the event that there are any disputes over inheritance.
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.
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Now that the United Kingdom has served notice to leave the European Union under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, managers of offshore funds have a clearer timetable for when Brexit will happen, with the UK scheduled to leave the EU in March 2019.
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