Wills and Estates

The practical administration of a family member’s personal estate can feel like a daunting task at an already difficult time, but our experienced team are here to advise you each step of the way. We can also offer guidance on all aspects of Will drafting.

Jersey has its own Wills and probate legislation and procedures, which are separate and quite different from those in the other Channel Islands or British jurisdictions. There are also different procedures to follow when administering an estate depending on whether an individual was domiciled in Jersey, a British country (England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey or the Isle of Man) or another foreign jurisdiction. It is essential therefore to get specialist advice if you're responsible for administering a Jersey estate or an estate with Jersey based assets, or if you're looking to make a Will under Jersey law.

Services

Will drafting for Jersey residents

Following your initial contact with the team, we will invite you to our offices to meet with a Wills and probate specialist.

You may need to make two Wills: one for your movable property (such as personal possessions, cash and shares, but also your home if you bought it by share transfer) and another for your immovable property (such as your home and any land you own if purchased as freehold or flying freehold).

As part of this conversation, we will discuss (among other things):

  • Your worldwide assets and liabilities and where they are situated
  • Your country of domicile and how this will affect the succession of your estate
  • Who you wish to name as your executor
  • Who you wish to benefit from your estate
  • Any specific gifts or legacies you wish to make to people or charities
  • Any gifts that you may have made during your life and any considerations to be made in respect of these
  • Provisions for any minor children and appointment of a guardian or tueteur
  • Any funeral requirements that you might have

We will then draft up your Will or Wills in line with your wishes and send these to you for you to check. Once you are happy with the draft Will or Wills, your lawyer will organise for you to return to our office in order for you to sign them in the presence of two independent witnesses.

The whole process is designed to be as uncomplicated and user-friendly as possible, and often takes just a few weeks (but can be done quicker if needed), depending on your particular circumstances and requirements.

Will drafting for non-Jersey residents

We can make a Jersey Will for you that covers your assets situated in Jersey (such as an offshore bank account or Jersey registered shares) without you needing to come to Jersey at all. We can discuss your estate planning requirements over the phone and/or email, and we can also review any other Wills that you already have in place that cover your assets in other jurisdictions.

A draft Will can then be drawn up that reflects your wishes and your situation, which we will send to you for review and comment. Once you are happy with the draft, we can arrange to send a final version to you, again via e-mail, together with full signing instructions so that you can print off the Will from your home and sign it there in the presence of two independent witnesses.

Should you need more advanced estate planning and succession advice and wish to discuss trust structures, foundations or Jersey companies, then we can also provide this.

Estate administration of a Jersey domiciled person

Whatever the circumstances, our qualified team will be able to provide you with guidance on applying for and obtaining the Jersey Grant of Representation, which is the collective term for a Grant of Probate (which is issued when the deceased person has left a valid Will) and a Grant of Letters of Administration (when the deceased person dies without leaving a valid Will).  

Our team will:

  • Complete a review of all the estate document such as the Will, death certificate, life of assets and liabilities
  • Draft all the necessary documents needed to make the application for the Jersey Grant of Representation, which will enable the personal representative (being either the executor of a Will or the administrator of an estate where the deceased did not leave a Will) to be legally appointed to deal with the estate
  • Advise on the level of Jersey Stamp Duty that will be payable
  • Arrange for an Ogier Advocate to accompany the personal representative to their appointment at the Royal Court and formally introduce them to the Registrar (which is required) to enable them to apply for the Grant of Representation and guide them through this process
  • Once the Grant of Representation is issued, we can help you deal with the administration of the estate. This can include, among other things:
    • Assistance with writing letters to banks or other asset holders
    • Helping with the transfer or sale of shares
    • Dealing with the transfer or sale of a share transfer property if the deceased owned one
    • Contacting utility bill providers, pension providers, and insurance brokers and establishing the extent of the estate assets and liabilities
    • Cancelling cards, passports, policies and memberships
    • Arranging for assets to be valued and put into safe storage
    • Arranging for assets to be sold at auction
    • Help completing income tax forms
  • Assist with and advise upon the distribution of the net estate once all liabilities have been settled, be that in line with the Will or according to the laws of intestacy if your family member did not leave a Will. We can contact beneficiaries if required or arrange for any that cannot be found
  • Preparing full estate accounts if needed
  • Advising upon any more complex issues such as the likelihood of any claims against the estate and what to do about these

If your family member also left an immoveable property in Jersey, then we can assist with this which is dealt with under a separate legal process.

Estate administration of a British domiciled person

If your family member was domiciled within Great Britain (Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland or England and Wales) and if a Grant of Representation from this country has already been issued, then we can apply for a Jersey Grant of Representation via what is known as the 'fast track' process which is solely available in such estates.

We will undertake the following:

  • An initial discussion and outline of the process and procedure by phone or email
  • A review of all relevant documents
  • A calculation of the value of the Jersey estate
  • Advice on the amount of Jersey Stamp Duty that will be payable
  • Drafting all necessary documents needed to make the application to the  Jersey Court

Our team, upon receipt of all relevant documents, will be able to make the application for the Jersey Grant of Representation via the fast track process.  Once issued, the Jersey Grant will enable the personal representative that is named on the British Grant (who will also be named on the Jersey Grant) to administer and uplift the Jersey based assets directly. Alternatively, Ogier can do this on behalf of the personal representative if this option is preferred.

Estate administration of a foreign domiciled person

If your family member was domiciled outside of Jersey and Great Britain, or if they were domiciled in Great Britain but a British Grant was not required for some reason (such as the assets that they owned there did not require administration at all), then the application for a Jersey Grant will be done via the foreign estate process. A foreign Grant cannot be re-sealed in Jersey at all so a fresh application for a Jersey Grant must be made.

We will undertake the following:

  • Initial discussion and outline of the process and procedure by phone or email
  • A review of all relevant documents
  • A calculation of the value of the Jersey estate
  • Advice on the amount of Jersey Stamp Duty that will be payable
  • Drafting all necessary documents needed to make the application to the Jersey Court

Our team, upon receipt of all relevant documents, will then need to prepare powers of attorney for signature by the personal representative of the deceased. This will enable an Ogier Advocate to appear in the Royal Court of Jersey on behalf of the personal representative, otherwise the personal representative/s would need to come to Jersey to do this in person. Once the powers of attorney are signed and returned to Ogier, we will be able to arrange to attend the Court appointment to make the necessary application on the personal representative/s' behalf.

Once the application is made in the Royal Court of Jersey and the documents accepted, the Jersey Grant will be issued usually within 5-7 working days.  As Ogier would be appointed as the  attorney of the personal representative/s, we would then handle the collection and distribution of the Jersey assets of the estate in line with the personal representative's instructions.  This can include, amongst other things, collecting in bank accounts, dealing with the sale or transfer of shares, arranging for share registers to be updated, collecting in loans and having any safe custody items valued and transferred. 

We also prepare estate accounts which show the balance of the Jersey estate, less and fees and disbursements, and these are shown to the personal representative/s for approval prior to the estate administration being completed and the assets being distributed.

Rights and duties of trustees, executors and beneficiaries

  • Advising on all aspects of the rights and duties of executors
  • Acting as executor where so required
  • Advising beneficiaries in respect of their entitlements under a will and at law

Curatorships

  • Advising all on all aspects of curatorship in Jersey
  • Assisting with the appointment of a curator
  • Providing a proposed curator if so required
  • Carrying out or advising upon the ongoing administration of the interdict’s property
  • Assisting with any necessary application to the Court in connection with a significant dealing with the interdict’s assets
  • Assisting with the termination of a curatorship

Jersey Wills Portal

Ogier's new will portal enables you, in your own space and time, to put together all of the information needed for us to draft a simple will for you. Your answers to our questionnaire will be put into a legal format and reviewed by our team before sending this to you so that you can make sure that it reflects your wishes. We will then arrange a meeting at our offices at which you will be able to sign your will.

You can access the form here.

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