Foreign domicile - application for Grant in UK

I would be grateful for any comments or assistance in this regard.

We are dealing with an estate whereby the deceased was domiciled in Spain. His Spanish Will only deals with his Spanish property. An application in Spain has been made for a ‘Last Will Certificate’ that outlines the deceased’s Will and is then going to be used by the Government/Land Registry to transfer the assets to the spouse. This appears to be a Spanish equivalent of a Grant albeit I am informed by the Spanish lawyer that there isn’t actually an equivalent process.

There is no Will in the UK but we need to apply for a Grant as we have UK assets.

Tristram and Cootes suggest (including Rule 30 NCPR 1987) that as the deceased was domiciled outside the UK a Grant will be issued to the ‘person entrusted with the administration of the estate by the court having jurisdiction at the place where the deceased was domiciled’. Or, ‘to the person beneficially entitled’.

My question is 'what documents do the Probate Registry require to process the Grant application in the UK?

Having spoken to the Court I have received contradictory information from needing to send; (a) notarised/sealed copies of any court documents issued in Spain and the Spanish Will, (b )only needing to send a sealed copy of the Will and © needing to apply for a pre-judgement order.

Does anyone have any experience of this type of application. Do I need the Last Will Certificate and Will notarising or would a sealed copy of the Will with our application for the UK Grant under the intestacy rules suffice?

Any comments would be appreciated.


Esther Woodhouse
Roythornes Ltd

Does it not depend on the route you are taking?

i.e. as there does not appear to be a PR in Spain, I would have thought you are applying under the head of “person beneficially entitled” and I am not sure the Will is relevant if it does not appoint a PR or cover UK assets. Absent a Will, this would presumably require an affidavit of law concerning Spanish intestacy law to confirm that they are the person entitled. This could be provided by the Spanish notary and will presumably differ from the existing certificate for Spanish assets where devolution will follow the Will.

We have done something similar under 30(1)(b) (albeit there was no will at all) without needing a separate application for an order - we included the application in the oath.

May be one for a pre-lodgement enquiry with your proposal. At least then you have a definite set of docs that the Registry should accept.

Incidentally, have others found that registries will no longer answer any meaningful questions over the phone? Email queries are good for getting a written answer but if the reply doesn’t actually answer the question (or raises more questions) it can make for a very long protracted process.

Andrew Goodman
Osborne Clarke LLP

I just went through this process. My client died domiciled in Spain. Most assets in Spain. One small asset in the UK. I completed the IHT 400.
I used Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 Rule 30 (1) to apply for an order granting permission for the deceased’s son to be the Personal Representative as one of the persons beneficially entitled to share in the estate of the deceased by the law of the place where the deceased died domiciled and obtain a Letters of Administration with Will as contained in a notarial copy and translation Annexed. I sent the following Spanish documentation to the Probate Registry – 1) A notarial copy of the open Will 2) A Deed of Acceptance and Distribution of Inheritance executed before the Notary and 3) Certified English translation of both documents.

Good Luck

Leslie Emilie Tuck
Mewies Solicitors

Yes I have also found that registries won’t answer questions over the phone, and this leads to a protracted process. I found this dated from when Mr Stapley (Principal Registry) died (or did he just retire?).

Julian Cohen, Solicitor