In New Zealand, both probate and letters of administration can be granted for an estate where the deceased lived and died in New Zealand. They may also be granted for estates where the deceased lived and died in another country, but had assets in New Zealand.
These applications are reasonably complex. However, there is a simpler alternative. If you have an estate which meets certain criteria, an application for a reseal can be made.
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.
A reseal is when a court in one country, New Zealand for example, 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 from a grant of probate that is only valid in Australia, for example, into 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 a 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 a seal from the New Zealand High Court on it.
How do you get a reseal in New Zealand?
To be able to apply for a reseal in New Zealand, both the country where the grant originates and the country where you wish to reseal it must be commonwealth countries. The exception is Hong Kong which is included by statute as one of the countries where a reseal can be made in New Zealand.
The original grant of probate or letters of administration (or a copy, certified on every page by the court which made the grant ) must be given to the High Court of New Zealand. Then the original or copy will be returned once it has been resealed and it will bear that second stamp.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Here at Morrison Kent, we have one of the few lawyers who specialise in obtaining reseals, probates and letters of administration from the New Zealand High Court for international estates with assets in New Zealand. If you are acting for an estate with assets in New Zealand, get in touch with Jenny Lowe today on +64 4 916 0153 for a painless and straightforward approach to managing international estate assets.