UK and Jersey: What Are the Differences in Probate Law?
Probate laws differ between countries within the UK and the crown dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man). Individuals dealing with probate in another country will need to familiarise themselves with the relevant laws and regulations.
Probate law in Jersey differs in many ways. There are a few variants that need to be noted when dealing with probate in Jersey. These are:
- Whether the estate is immovable or movable
- Where the deceased individual resided
- The value of the estate
If the deceased individual resided in the British Isles, the executor will need to be present on the island of Jersey to handle the estate. If an individual can’t make it to the island, they will require a Jersey lawyer to act on their behalf. Only a Jersey advocate can do this — UK lawyers cannot perform this role.
Here is an outline of some of the differences between UK and Jersey probate law.
Applying for a Grant of Probate
In the UK, individuals can apply online for a grant of probate. Once approved, the executor or named person in a will can deal with the estate of the deceased individual.
In Jersey, this process can be more complex. If the deceased individual had both immovable and movable estate, they should have made two wills. A will of immovable estate does not require an executor. In this case, land or property will be passed on to an heir and stamp duty must be paid — this should be handled by a Jersey lawyer.
For movable estate, there must be a named executor in the will. This person must then apply for a grant of probate to handle the estate.
If the deceased had estate in both Jersey and the UK, the grant of probate from the UK cannot be used in Jersey. An individual must have a grant of probate in Jersey before the movable estate can be given to the executor.
To gain a grant of probate in Jersey, an individual will need all of the required documents as outlined in Jersey law and apply to the Probate Registry. The individual will then need to take an oath.
Once the oath has been sworn, it usually takes a week to ten days for the grant to be issued. Once issued, the executor can distribute the estate and pay off any necessary debts.
Fast Track Probate in Jersey
Fast track probate is unique to Jersey and is only applicable if the deceased individual lived in the British Isles. It means that an application for probate in Jersey can be fast-tracked if an individual also has a grant of probate from the UK. To apply, the UK grant of probate will be needed, plus the death certificate, will and an accurate amount of how much the estate in Jersey is worth. The registrar may request further information and documents before probate is granted.
This April, England and Wales will see a dramatic change in probate laws come into effect. The highest amount individuals will be required to pay for probate on an estate is £6,000. The move is described by the justice minister as “fair and progressive.”
In Jersey, however, no such fees apply. There is no payment of inheritance tax or estate duty, but stamp duty will need to be paid unless the estate is worth less than £10,000. If the estate is worth less than this amount, it is up to the fund holder whether a grant of probate is required — when the deceased individual was domiciled outside the UK, a grant is usually asked for.
If no will was left or the deceased individual lived outside of the UK, navigating probate law in Jersey can be difficult. Always consult a lawyer if you find yourself in this situation.
Anna Marczuk is the expert in probate and wills at Parslows Jersey. She assists individuals to navigate probate in Jersey. The firm has recently been recognised by the Legal 500 in its annual ranking.