The Probate (Jersey) Law 1998 has recently undergone significant changes that impact the requirements for obtaining a Grant of Probate or letters of administration for movable estates.
Previously, the Law (which had been in place for over 20 years) made it obligatory to obtain a Grant of Probate from the court in order to administer a deceased person’s movable estate where the total value of the estate exceeds £10,000.
However, the revised probate law has introduced a notable adjustment: the threshold for necessitating a Grant of Probate has now been raised to £30,000. This means that if the deceased was Jersey domiciled and the total value of their movable estate is less than £30,000, their executor or heirs can access the assets, which may include bank accounts, investments, jewellery, and more, without the need for obtaining a Grant of Probate. Similarly, if the deceased was not Jersey domiciled and the value of their movable estate held by each “holder” does not exceed £30,000 then a grant is not required to administer the estate.
This alteration in the law serves several purposes. It aims to alleviate the burden on beneficiaries by facilitating quicker access to assets and lightening their administrative load. This can be particularly beneficial in settling immediate financial obligations such as funeral expenses or care home fees.
Nevertheless, asset holders such as banks and other financial institutions retain the authority to oversee the appropriate distribution of assets. In light of this, asset holders may require the submission of an application form containing essential information prior to releasing funds to the executor or heirs.
In spite of the newly amended probate law, many of the old safeguards remain in force. For example, it is a criminal offence to take possession of or administer movable property prior to a probate grant unless you qualify for an exemption as prescribed by the amended law.