Since trans-Tasman travel and living arrangements have become so common in recent years, more and more people are finding that, when a loved one dies, some of their assets are “over the ditch”. That means that the grant of probate or grant of letters of administration they received in the country where the deceased lived needs to be resealed in order to access the assets in the other country.
If you are dealing with an estate in Australia which has assets in New Zealand, we are experts at resealing that Australian probate here in New Zealand.
What is a reseal?
A reseal is as simple as it sounds.
When probate or letters of administration are granted, the court which makes that grant “seals” the document but placing a stamp, an imprint or sometimes (as the process was named after) a wax seal on it. The seal is what turns the document into a valid grant that can be used to unlock the assets of the estate. Without it, all you have is a piece of paper which won’t be accepted by organisations to unlock estate assets.
A reseal is when a court in one country (New Zealand in our case) takes a grant of probate or letters of administration made in the court of another country and puts a second seal on it. That transforms the document into a grant of probate that is only valid in Australia, for example, to a grant of probate that is valid in both Australia and New Zealand.
If you were to present the original grant of probate from Australia to the bank in New Zealand, they would not accept it and refuse to release the assets. If you were to get that same grant resealed in New Zealand, the bank would accept it because it would have the seal of the New Zealand High Court on it.
Reseal common issues
Each state in Australia produces a slightly different probate document and have their own procedures. The state of Victoria has even introduced a revolutionary system to file an application for probate electronically, but these differences can cause problems for reseals.
A common issue we are experiencing at the moment is probates where the will is not attached, especially with probates from Australia.
Letters of administration are granted when there is no will, so nothing needs to be attached to the grant of letters of administration for us to arrange a reseal.
However, with a grant of probate, the will needs to be attached to the probate by the court which issued the probate (it doesn’t work if a copy of the ) in order for our court to grant a reseal.
This has generated some issues when other courts change their process so that the probate they produce does not have the will attached.
We have also recently had a client whose lawyers in Australia obtained probate, and the will was attached, but the lawyers decided the document was too bulky and removed the will and sent us only the first page of probate.
What the court will require if:
- There is no will attached to the probate, but the court supplied a copy of the will:
confirmation from the court that issued the probate that the will supplied is indeed the last will of the deceased. The confirmation must come from the issuing court, not from the solicitors that acted to receive it.
- There is no will attached to the probate and the Court did not supply a copy of the will:
a copy of the will produced in a way that our court can be confident that it is the will associated with the probate, for example, it has a cover letter from the court that issued the probate or has been certified by a court officer.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you are dealing with an estate where a reseal is required in New Zealand, please contact Jenny Lowe on 04 916 0153 or email email@example.com. Jenny is one of few legal specialists in New Zealand for probate and letters of administration applications, especially those coming from overseas. We can make these complex applications simple and painless for you.