Do you need a Grant of Probate in England or Wales? Did a relative die without leaving an English Will?

Filed under : Wills, Probate & Inheritance

Grants of Probate and letters of administration are issued by the Probate Registry of England and Wales. It is often necessary for people living in Spain to apply for a Grant from the Probate Registry of England and Wales.This could be because the deceased died without a Spanish Will but had assets in Spain. In some circumstances, the only way to deal with this is by getting a Grant.

Of course, the way to avoid this situation is by making a Spanish Will during your lifetime – something we always recommend to anyone who has assets in Spain. There are occasions when a deceased has a Spanish Will for their Spanish assets, but a Grant from the Probate Registry is needed to deal with their non-Spanish assets.

There are also occasions when a Spanish resident is one of the beneficiaries of someone who lived and died in the UK and they want to deal with all of the non-Spanish inheritance without having to go back to the UK to do this. This is entirely possible.

The procedure is slightly different depending on whether there was a Will which covered the assets in question or not. If there is an English form Will covering the assets, then a Grant of Probate is applied for. The Grant essentially proves the validity of the Will and allows the executors and/or administrators to deal directly with the asset holders to release the assets. In the absence of a Spanish Will, the Grant and Will can be used in Spain to deal with the assets here.

Sometimes, especially in the case of Spanish nationals who had assets in the UK, it is necessary to get a Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry in respect of a Spanish Will. This is entirely possible, but it is complicated and is a situation best avoided. If the deceased died intestate, then an application must be made for a Grant of Letters of Administration. The Grant can be applied for by the persons entitled to inherit under the intestacy rules. Sometimes this requires the filing of a certificate of law.  The Grant once issued gives the named administrators the same powers as executors named in a Will to deal with the assets.

The application for either type of Grant is made via the Probate Registry of England and Wales which is part of the Family division of the High Court of Justice. The applicant(s) must swear an oath or sign a statement of truth confirming that what they say is true. In addition, tax forms in respect of all the deceased’s assets must be completed and submitted.

Once the Grant is obtained, all of the UK assets can be dealt with individually, banks and financial institutions have their own individual forms, the Land Registry has forms for transferring real estate and there are also forms for dealing with shareholdings.

We can assist with the whole process and all of the paperwork including dealing with the Probate Registry, the tax office and the asset holders. We can assist with the documentation required to make the declaration of Spanish succession tax in respect of assets received from abroad by Spanish tax residents.

For more information contact Jon Sutton on [email protected] or call +34 951 315 161