26 May 2015

Probate and estate planning administration for Guernsey domiciliaries

Through our executorship company Carey Olsen Client Services (Guernsey) Limited we provide a professional estate administration service for family members, individuals, lawyers or other professionals who are acting as executors or administrators who are heirs of a deceased person’s estate.

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

The Guernsey Ecclesiastical Court issues a Grant of Probate if the deceased left a Will or a Grant of Administration if they died intestate.

Exception

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 he is said to have died “intestate”. Under these circumstances it is necessary to establish who is entitled to administer the deceased’s estate. This will need to be established by an affidavit on intestacy sworn by a Guernsey advocate.

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 Executor named in a Will is not applying for probate. An application for a Grant for the estate of a 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.

What documents are required?

  • A Death Certificate
  • A certified copy of the death certificate with translation if appropriate
  • Guernsey Will
  • The original Guernsey Will (if any)
  • Details of Assets
  • Confirmation of the sterling value of the deceased’s worldwide estate. This will not include any realty situate in the Bailiwick of Guernsey
  • Confirmation from a least one local institution which holds the deceased’s assets that a Guernsey grant is required
  • Letter of Engagement and Terms of Business
  • A letter of engagement which incorporates our terms of business signed by the personal representatives, beneficiaries or heirs
  • Client Identification
  • A certified copy passport and utility bill or bank statement (of no more than 3 months old) confirming the residential address(es) of the proposed personal representative(s). 

What documents may be required?

  • Affidavit on Intestacy
  • An affidavit in the form required by the Ecclesiastical Court sworn by a Guernsey advocate confirming who is entitled to share in the succession under Guernsey law. This will also enable the Ecclesiastical Court to establish who is entitled to administer the deceased’s estate
  • Affidavit as to due execution
  • This will be required on the first proving of the Will in Guernsey in the event the Will was not signed in Guernsey to prove that the Will was duly executed in accordance with the relevant law and is therefore capable of being admitted to proof in Guernsey.
  • Affidavit of handwriting
  • This will be required as evidence that a holographic Will presented for Probate is in the handwriting of the deceased. If the affidavit is provided by the deceased’s professional adviser only one affidavit is required, otherwise the Ecclesiastical Court will require two affidavits
  • Other Documents and information
  • Depending on the circumstances other documents and information may be required
  • All original documentation will be retained by the Ecclesiastical Court.

Costs

There are no death duties, estate duties or inheritance taxes, capital gains taxes or value added taxes on estates. The Ecclesiastical Court charges its fees based on the value of the estate and capped at an estate value of £100,000. The value of the estate is always taken as the gross value (i.e. before deduction of debts and liabilities) of worldwide 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.

Carey Olsen’s fees and those of Carey Olsen Client Services (Guernsey) Limited are based principally on time costing and complexity and we would be happy to provide estimates depending on the circumstances of each particular case.

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