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Finders International Probate Genealogists
Finders are one of the world’s leading firms of international probate genealogists. We trace missing heirs and next of kin for Lawyers, Corporate & State Trustees, Councils, Administrators, Executors, Hospitals, Coroners & others needing to identify and locate beneficiaries to estates, funds and assets worldwide.

Offshore grants and reseals

UK estates increasingly comprise varied liquid assets overseas – these could be anything from shares in Canada to a bank account in Australia or the USA, to a shareholding in Hong Kong or Singapore, or an account in Jersey, the Isle of Man or Gibraltar. With a network of associates in the these areas we can obtain Grants and Reseals with the maximum of efficiency.

Prices start from
£ 750

This price does not include disbursements costs such as local Probate Court fees.

What is an Offshore Grant or Reseal?

Resealing the Grant or Confirmation A ‘reseal’ is, literally, the seal of the court in the jurisdiction in which the dead person’s asset is located, affixed to the grant of probate or confirmation. This gives the grant the same authority that a grant obtained in that jurisdiction would have had. Reseals are possible in countries that are subject to the Colonial Probate Act, or which are closely allied to the UK (such as somewhere like Gibraltar), and tend to be Commonwealth countries like Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and Malaysia, for example. Financial institutions and share registrars in many jurisdictions will have their own compliance thresholds for the value of assets in that jurisdiction, above which they will need either a local grant to be obtained from the court, or for the English grant of representation or Scottish confirmation to be resealed in the local court.

Local Grants For other jurisdictions, their court rules require the estate to obtain a ‘full’ grant of probate or similar; for example, in Jersey, the Isle of Man and Ireland. In some of these jurisdictions, the existence of an English grant or Scottish confirmation will smooth the way. In others, the process can be long and complex. The process can be hardest to predict in the US where, in addition to federal laws, each State has its own rules and laws governing how probate should be obtained. Some involve lengthy “prescription periods” during which the estate must advertise for creditors in the area where the grant is being obtained, preventing access to the assets.

Overseas Estates with UK Assets Some clients need the reverse: for their own grant to be resealed in England and Wales, or for local English probate to be obtained (where the country of domicile is not a Commonwealth jurisdiction). Finders can help here, too – contact us to discuss further.  

Case Study

James Foster was a keen amateur investor in stocks and shares and during his forty year career in the City of London had built up quite a large portfolio of UK stocks. During that time some shares went up in value, some went down and others met quite a different end. For instance, one international conglomerate he had invested in had delisted from the London Stock Exchange and was now listed only on the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong.

He had unwittingly become a shareholder in an overseas company. Unaware that this geographical relocation meant that he needed to do anything about these shares, he held onto them and remained blissfully ignorant of the trouble this would cause in the future. When Mr Foster died in 2015, his granddaughter Fiona was appointed his Executor. As principal residuary beneficiary, she was delighted to discover that the shares were worth approximately £14K.

Fiona decided she wanted to sell the shares. Her local stockbroker had not been able to help, so, with no financial expertise but a great deal of common sense, Fiona sourced information online about what she needed to do to begin the process in Hong Kong. She was immediately shocked at the complexity of selling shares there, where the shareholder is both a foreign resident and deceased. She learned that one of the first things she needed to do was to apply for a Hong Kong Reseal.

What is a Hong Kong reseal? In brief, a reseal is a fast-track form of Grant of Probate. It is a statutory requirement to obtain a Hong Kong Grant of Probate when dealing with any estate property in Hong Kong. However, when a Grant of Probate or Scottish Confirmation has already been obtained in the UK, this requirement is downgraded or simplified into a reseal. A lawyer in Hong Kong must act on the Executors’ behalf, and prepare and submit an application comprising various documents to the Probate Registry in Hong Kong, to have the UK Grant or Confirmation resealed (literally, sealed a second time) by the Court as evidence that the Court in Hong Kong recognises its authority.

After spending considerable time approaching Hong Kong law firms and reeling at their disproportionately expensive charge-out rates, a simple phone call to Louise at Finders International for help reassured Fiona that a UK-based solution was at hand. Louise explained that at Finders they had a partner in Hong Kong and would be able to take care of all the paperwork and legalities to complete the resealing. Finders’ experience in dealing with these matters meant that Fiona could pay an all-in price, get answers to her questions, and feel confident that progress was being made, without getting directly involved with international legal jargon and complex bureaucracy.

The proceeds of sale of her grandfather’s accidental investment in Hong Kong ultimately enabled her to finish her long-postponed Masters Degree.

Mary Jones, a UK resident, died on 4th September 2014 at her home in Godalming, Surrey. Among her assets was a healthy bank balance of £20,585.67, which she left to her favourite nephew John and his wife Sarah. Unfortunately for John and Sarah Jones, this account was held in a NatWest Savings Account – in Jersey. Once UK Probate was obtained for all Mary’s UK assets, John and Sarah were keen to close the Jersey account and use the money to build an extension onto their house.

Famous for its beautiful beaches, Royal potatoes and rich Anglo-French history, Jersey is also known for strict anti-money laundering regulations, so the process of closing the account and was not as straightforward as they might have hoped. They were told that because the amount was over £10k they would need a Jersey Grant of Probate. “Surely” they questioned “a simple reseal of the English Grant will do the trick…?”

But no, you cannot reseal in Jersey like you can in Commonwealth countries like Australia or Canada. For assets over £10K, you have to apply for and obtain a Jersey Grant of Probate which is more technically known as Greffier’s Certificate of Jersey Grant of Probate. The Jersey Courts does not accept postal applications nor does it issue application forms. So effectively this meant that Mr and Mrs Jones might have had to find and engage a Jersey lawyer or try to deal the matter themselves by visiting the island and working their way through all the required paperwork and visiting the relevant government buildings.

Luckily for them, they were introduced to Louise Levene at Finders who was more than helpful and put the Jones at ease with her encyclopaedic knowledge of probate matters in Jersey. Her solution was simple, straightforward and cost effective. She told the Jones to send in all the documents relating to the UK Probate, appointed people in Jersey and made all the necessary arrangements for the account to be closed and the money given to John and Sarah. And all this was done for a small fee of £750 + VAT + Court disbursements. The matter was settled in a matter of weeks and the Joneses used the money from their aunt’s Jersey legacy to build the finest kitchen conservatory in Surrey!

An explanation of costs
Getting Quotes
Finders International has new and competitive prices to help you obtain Grants from Jersey and the Isle of Man. All fees are subject to sight of estate documents. All documents and information are received in confidence, and without obligation, and no costs are incurred without your express authorisation.
If you’re interested in obtaining a firm quote for work in any of the jurisdictions mentioned in this article, please supply us with copies of the following:
• Death certificate
• English grant and will, or Scottish confirmation
• Details of all assets in the jurisdiction requiring the reseal or grant. We will ask you for originals, and additional documentation at a later date.
Contact information
Louise Levene
For assistance with your enquiry please contact us now.