One of a few quirks of Probate (Jersey) Law 1998 is that the personal representative (PR) of a foreign-domiciled deceased person's estate is required to attend an appointment in-person with the Registrar of Probate in the Royal Court of Jersey in order to obtain a Grant of Representation1.
This means that the PR of a deceased person's estate, who will be either the executor named in the deceased person's Will or the person(s) entitled to administer an intestate estate, is required to travel to Jersey.
During this appointment, the PR must present the Registrar with all relevant documents and, provided these are all in order, will then take the Oath of executor or administrator in the Registrar's presence.
The Jersey Registrar of Probate has seen a distinct increase in travel to the island for this purpose over recent years, which has coincided with the rise in availability of cheap flights available to Jersey, particularly from Europe. However, the restrictions on travel implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) mean that this is no longer a viable option for PRs looking to administer estates that have a Jersey-based element.
The only options therefore available to the PR are:
- To appoint a locally based agent, by way of a power of attorney, who can appear in the Royal Court of Jersey on their behalf in order to present the documents to the Court and take the relevant Oath. This means that the Jersey Grant, when issued, will be granted in the name of the attorney who then has the proper authority in Jersey to administer the Jersey situs assets; or
- Wait until the travel restrictions are lifted. At the time of writing however, there is no official indication on when this will happen.
Ogier has an executorship company which is duly authorised by the Royal Court of Jersey to act as executor or administrator of estates where required. We have pre-scheduled fortnightly appointments with the Probate Registrar at which we can make the application for a Jersey Grant on behalf of a PR who has appointed us by way of power of attorney to do so.
The power of attorney needed for this purpose has to be signed by the PR in the presence of an independent witness (who does not need to be legally qualified) and we are anticipating that new and emergency legislation will shortly be put in place in order to enable this type of witnessing to be done by video link.
The Probate process in Jersey is generally extremely quick and efficient and we can usually expect to be in receipt of the Jersey Grant within three to five days of the application being made and accepted.
This rule is pursuant to Article 4(1) of the Probate (General) Rules 1998, in a foreign domiciled estate (being not Jersey domiciled and not British domiciled): "…..a person wishing to obtain a grant, …… shall apply in person to the Greffier and shall produce to the Greffier the documents required…..."
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.