WHY DO I NEED A GUERNSEY GRANT OF PROBATE OR ADMINISTRATION?
Guernsey is an independent legal jurisdiction for estate administration purposes. When a person dies leaving assets in Guernsey it is likely their personal representative will be required to obtain a Guernsey Grant of Probate or Administration in order to receive the Guernsey assets. If the value of the estate is under £10,000 the local institution may be willing (but is not obliged) to release the funds to the personal representative in return for an indemnity. It is not possible to “reseal” a Grant from the UK or a foreign jurisdiction however the foreign grant is used in support of the Guernsey application.
The Guernsey Ecclesiastical Court issues a Grant of Probate if the deceased left a Will or a Grant of Administration if they died intestate.
If assets are held in joint names, the assets will usually pass to the surviving account holder on production of the death certificate.
WILL OR INTESTACY
If the deceased died without making a Will (or his Will does not cover the Guernsey assets) he is said to have died “intestate” (or intestate as to Guernsey assets). Under these circumstances Guernsey law determines who is entitled to administer the Guernsey estate.
WHAT IS AN EXECUTOR/ADMINISTRATOR?
An Executor is the personal representative of the deceased who is named in the Will. An Administrator is the person appointed as the personal representative in an intestate estate or where the named Executor in a Will does not take out probate. An application for a Grant for the estate of a non-Guernsey domiciled individual requires a personal appearance at the Ecclesiastical Court by the Executor or Administrator or their duly appointed attorney. In the event the Executor or Administrator is not resident in Guernsey the Ecclesiastical Court can prepare a postal oath to be sworn outside of the Island before a notary public or someone authorised to administer oaths. Carey Olsen Client Services (Guernsey) Limited is our in-house executorship company which provides an independent estate administration service including acting as agent for a non-Guernsey Executor or Administrator.
WHY IS DOMICILE SO IMPORTANT?
The deceased’s domicile will usually be the place where they lived and intended to remain indefinitely for the rest of their life. This information is important as the rights to inherit movable assets are usually governed by the provisions of the law of the deceased’s last domicile. Domicile may also have an effect on the taxation of the estate. In cases of doubt, expert legal and tax advice may need to be obtained.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED?
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WHAT DOCUMENTS MAY BE REQUIRED?
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There are no death duties, estate duties or inheritance taxes, capital gains taxes or value added taxes on foreign domiciled estates. The Ecclesiastical Court charges its fees based on the value of the estate. The value of the estate is always taken as the gross value (i.e. before deduction of debts and liabilities) of worldwide assets on a first proving in Guernsey but of Guernsey assets only on a second or subsequent proving or if there is a Will dealing only with Guernsey assets.
The value is always taken at the date of death. The deceased’s assets to be valued for these purposes are his movable assets. Real estate situate outside of the Bailiwick of Guernsey may be included in the unlikely event of there not being a previous foreign Grant. Real estate situate in the Bailiwick of Guernsey is not included in the value of the estate.
By way of guidance the Ecclesiastical Court charges its fees on a sliding scale where for an estate of £20,000 a fee of £59 will be charged, for an estate of £80,000 a fee of £155 will be charged and for amounts over £80,000 add for each additional £10,000 or part thereof, £35. There are small charges for certified copies, powers of attorney, oaths, deeds of renunciation, the details of which can be provided on request.