Resealing a Foreign Grant of Probate

Resealing a Foreign Grant of Probate in England and Wales

When someone dies overseas but has assets located in England or Wales, the personal representative must obtain legal authority to manage those assets.

Contact us


  • “The ‘approachable, friendly and motivated’  team receives a steady flow of instructions from high-net-worth individuals and families on an array of tax planning, wealth preservation, estate and succession planning issues.”

  • “Jan is excellent with clients. She approaches complex cases with confidence and skill”

When someone dies overseas but has assets located in England or Wales, the personal representative must obtain legal authority to manage those assets. One option is “resealing” which turns a foreign grant of probate into a legal document in the UK.

Resealing can be used for grants that have been issued in countries that have, or had, a link with the Commonwealth. It’s a slightly faster and simpler process than having to apply for probate anew and allows executors to get on with managing the deceased’s property and possessions in the UK.

What is resealing grant of probate?

A grant of probate is an official document that allows a personal representative to manage the money, property and assets left behind when someone dies and distribute them according to their will. The grant will be “sealed” in the country in which it is issued.

In the UK, banks, pension companies and other asset holders will not accept a foreign grant of probate. The personal representatives will need to hold an English grant of probate to deal with assets here.

Resealing is the process by which the Probate Registry, which is part of HM Courts Service, puts a new seal on a foreign grant of probate, turning it into a legal document here. The personal representative can then use the resealed grant to deal with assets in England and Wales.

Can you reseal grants from any country?

Resealing is permitted by the Colonial Probates Act and generally applies to the old Commonwealth countries, including ones that have obtained their independence. There are 70 jurisdictions altogether, including countries like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

As long as the original grant of probate (or equivalent) is issued in one of the countries named in the Act, it should be possible to reseal it in England and Wales.

How do you reseal foreign probates in England and Wales?

The first step is to prepare and file an Inheritance Tax (IHT) return with HM Revenue and Customs and pay the required taxes if any are due. These forms are necessary even if there’s no tax to pay.

Evaluating the correct tax liability can be complicated when dealing with assets in more than one country. It’s usual to instruct a solicitor to deal with the reseal and the IHT forms, so you don’t miss exemptions you may be entitled to or make a mistake.

Once the tax returns are done, your solicitor will make an application for resealing to the Probate Registry. A number of documents are required for the application, including:

  • The original foreign grant or an official court sealed copy
  • An official copy of the death certificate
  • An official copy of the will
  • Receipt for Inheritance Tax from HMRC if appropriate
  • A letter of authority signed by the estate’s foreign representatives confirming that the solicitor is authorised to act on their behalf
  • Formal translations of documents that are not in English

Your solicitor will guide you through the process, explain the paperwork and advise on any potential issues that may arise.

Currently, there is a court fee of £273 for estates valued over £5,000 in the UK.

How can Osbornes help?

We are a leading private wealth practice with expertise in administering complex, cross-border estates. We can:

  • Advise whether resealing is appropriate and provide alternative options
  • Advise whether UK Inheritance Tax will be payable and prepare the necessary returns
  • Prepare and manage the Probate Registry application on your behalf

If you would like to discuss next steps or request a quote, please contact us. We would be happy to help.

Speak to us about Resealing a Foreign Grant of Probate

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you


    • Times best law firm 2024
    • Spears 500 logo
    • legal 500 leading firm
    • chambers logo

    New and Insights From our Probate LawyersVIEW ALL

    1. Deed of variation to a will

      Deed of Variation to a Will

      Deed of Variation to a Will After someone dies, it is possible for the beneficiaries to change the way the...

      Read more
    2. Constructive Trusts

      Constructive Trusts

      Property rights are not always clear-cut. Sometimes, a person who does not legally own a property could be entitled to...

      Read more
    3. Forged will pic

      Forged Wills

      If the contents of a will comes as a surprise, then one of the things to consider is whether the...

      Read more
    4. man looking at a lake

      Can Someone With Dementia Make A Will or...

      It’s a sad reality in an ageing population that more people than ever suffer from dementia in the UK....

      Read more
    5. waiting

      Can a Lasting Power of Attorney Be Challenged?

      The number of people recognising the importance of making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) has risen dramatically in recent...

      Read more
    6. older lady

      Undue Influence in Wills

      Contesting a Will Due to Undue Influence Undue influence occurs when someone pressurises another person to change their Will in...

      Read more
    7. 10 tips

      Wills Disputes: The Duty To Account Is Not...

      Beneficiaries frequently ask us whether trustees or personal representatives can be required to provide a financial account. Their request may...

      Read more
    8. international map and money

      Will Dispute Case Law

      New Births And New Relationships? Review Your Will To Avoid A Dispute You’d imagine a wealthy businessman with assets...

      Read more
    9. diamond held by tweezers

      Proprietary Estoppel Case Law

      On A Lick And A Promise? The First Hurdle In Proprietary Estoppel Claims Solicitors are increasingly instructed by clients who...

      Read more
    10. older couple

      Of Bad Character: Undue Influence Claim Succeeds

      Naidoo v Barton: undue influence and the risks of mutual wills Can someone’s bad character be used to prove...

      Read more
    11. lady holding a cup

      Case Law: Dementia-Induced Mild Cognitive Impairment

      Dementia is a harsh reality for increasing numbers of families. Sadly, it means the disputed wills solicitors at Osbornes Law...

      Read more
    12. eu flags

      German Court Rules on EU Succession Regulation

      Succession laws vary from country to country which historically made the administration of cross-border estates potentially complex. Since 17 August 2015, the...

      Read more
    13. couple holding hands

      Are trusts protected from divorce?

      Can trusts protect an inheritance from your spouse? A trust is a separate legal entity. Neither spouse owns its assets. ...

      Read more
    14. the moon

      How to prevent someone contesting a will

      It is fairly rare in my experience for a parent to write a child out of their will but that...

      Read more
    15. primrose hill london

      Gifting Property to Children

      Can I gift property to my children? Gifting a property to your adult children is a relatively complex transaction but...

      Read more
    16. house in regents park london

      Contentious Probate Case Studies

      Contentious probate involving business assets Our contentious probate solicitors act for the defendants to a claim issued to pronounce in...

      Read more
    17. last will and testament disputes

      Contesting A Will Case Studies

      Will dispute on grounds of lack of capacity Our contesting a will solicitors acted for the claimants, the adult daughters...

      Read more
    18. Closeup of a hand signing

      Do you need to register your trust?

      The Trust Register was introduced in 2017 as part of anti-money laundering regulations. Previously, only trusts with a UK tax liability...

      Read more
    19. older man

      What should I do if I think a...

      If the contents of a will come as a surprise, then one of the things to check is whether the...

      Read more
    20. Businessman and Male lawyer or judge consult having team meeting with client, Law and Legal services concept

      Beware of appointing your children as executors

      Where tensions exist between family members, making your children the executors of your will can cause huge problems with probate,...

      Read more
    21. money in different currencies

      Does your will deal with cross-border assets?

      If you own assets in more than one country, it’s important to make a robust Will that deals effectively...

      Read more
    22. older man on a bench

      Married with children from a previous relationship – how...

      There are several ways of doing this. If sufficient assets are available apart from the family home, dividing those between...

      Read more
    23. Elderly woman hold smartphone feels disappointed by received bad news

      Family Tensions and Deputyship 

      Disputes between a deputy and the family of the individual concerned, can escalate and become increasingly distressing if issues are...

      Read more
    24. Couple having counselling

      Particularly sensitive issues around mental capacity

      Mental capacity, the right to sex and the carer’s risk of prosecution  Does everyone have the right to a...

      Read more