Jersey: The Differences Between The Jersey And English Processes On Probate And Wills Of Real Estate

Last Updated: 19 April 2017
Article by Julie Melia

Most Read Contributor in Jersey, August 2019

Jersey is a separate jurisdiction to England with a separate body of law. In particular, the law of inheritance and probate differs significantly from that of the UK and creates responsibilities for the executors and administrators of those who leave movable assets in Jersey on their death.

Probate describes both the grant and the process of obtaining it. A grant of probate (a Grant) is issued to the executor named in a will, or their substitute, where the individual named is unable, unwilling or renounces. Where there is no will, a surviving spouse or civil partner or (where there is no surviving spouse or civil partner) the eldest son (or someone appointed by the Greffier) is entitled to take out a Grant of Letters of Administration (Letters) to recover or receive any part of the deceased's Jersey movable estate.

Where the deceased leaves movable estate in Jersey, a Grant or Letters is required before the assets can be released to the executors or administrators. This applies whether or not the deceased was domiciled in Jersey. There is only one exemption, namely where the deceased is not domiciled in Jersey and the movable estate is worth less than GBP10,000. However, the holder of the Jersey asset may still insist upon a Grant or letters prior to release.

An application for a Grant or Letters is made to the Probate Registrar at the Judicial Greffe (the office of the clerks of Jersey's Royal Court). An oath is taken by the executor/administrator and all documentation submitted to the Registrar is retained, with original wills and copy grants being open to inspection.

No death duties, estate duty, inheritance tax or capital gains tax are payable in Jersey. Stamp duty is payable under article 5 of the Stamp Duties and Fees (Jersey) Law 1998 and is assessed based on the net value of the estate for Jersey domicilaries, and the value of the net Jersey estate only for non domiciliaries, as at the date of death, at 0.5 per cent for the first GBP100,000 and 0.75 per cent thereafter up to a maximum stamp fee of GBP100,000. The Probate Registrar also charges an application fee of GBP80 if through a legal office, and more for a personal applicant.

The family, with assistance from the Registrar, will often deal with the estate of a Jersey domiciled deceased individual. The basic documents required include the original will, death certificate and a valuation of the net assets at the date of death. Legal assistance may be sought where the estate is sizeable, the family feel unable to deal with the situation or there is a risk of dispute.

A fast-track process is available when dealing with Jersey assets belonging to a deceased domiciled in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man or Guernsey and where a valid Grant has been obtained in that jurisdiction. An oath must be sworn by the person who has obtained the Grant/Letters. The Grant, the will and any codicils must each be sealed by the Royal Court and certified on the reverse by the Registrar as true copies of the originals. The Probate Registrar will not accept documentation where the sealing cannot be felt on every page. The Grant is limited to the Jersey assets and is produced and used to access them.

Where the deceased has not been domiciled in Jersey or the UK but has left Jersey assets, the Grant is issued in the country of domicile and must be re-sealed before any Jersey assets can be accessed. An affidavit of Foreign Law may be required if the will does not conform to Jersey Law, or where there is no will. All non-English documentation must be accompanied by an official translation. A power of attorney enables a person (often an advocate) to act on behalf of the executor. The attorney takes an oath, and the Grant, restricted to Jersey estate, is used to uplift or transfer assets in accordance with instructions.

 Will disputes

A will can be attacked on various grounds including incapacity, failure to adhere to applicable formalities, illegality, fraud and coercion. Jersey law still imposes forced heirship in relation to movable estate, so a will of movables of a Jersey domiciliary can be subject to a claim for reduction ad legitimum modum where a surviving spouse/civil partner or child does not receive their lawful entitlement. The will is not set aside, instead the entitlement is provided for and the testamentary dispositions are reduced.

The prescription period for both nullity claims and reduction ad legitimum modum is a year and a day from the death. An additional remedy is a claim that rapport a la masse be made. This is a claim by one or more heirs against another (not an attack on the will) which is made within one year and a day from death.

Anyone making a will must be of sound mind, and at least 18 years of age or be married (Jersey law allows people to be married at the age of 16, but those aged between 16 and 18 must have the written consent of their parents or guardians).

A will must be signed or acknowledged in the presence of two witnesses who must be present at the same time to attest (witness) the will. No witness can benefit under the will they witness or even be a close relative of either the person making the will or someone taking a benefit under the will.

A will can be amended as often as desired by signing a document called a codicil – but the procedures for correctly executing a codicil are the same as the procedures for creating a will, and an incorrectly executed codicil will be considered invalid. Wills should be revised as personal circumstances change, for example, when people get married or divorced or have children.

 Cancelling a will

Revocation may take place at any time prior to the death of the person making the will. Revocation can be carried out by destroying the will, executing a further will or by the testator evidencing an intention to revoke, for example by writing 'this will is revoked' on the document. We would advise anyone to seek legal advice before revoking a will or part of it so that the consequences of so doing are known before the act of revocation is carried out.

A will dealing with immovable property in Jersey must be executed in accordance with the strict formalities required of Jersey law. If it is not, it will be invalid and ineffective. There are certain peculiarities of Jersey law which may not be complied with if the will is not prepared by Jersey lawyers. The main points are that one of the witnesses must be either an Advocate or Solicitor of the Royal Court, a Crown Officer or a member of the Jersey States if the will is executed in Jersey, or a notary public if the will is executed outside of Jersey. Further the will must be read aloud in the presence of the person making the will and the two witnesses.

Jersey law stipulates that in relation to immovable property a surviving spouse (which includes, in this context, husbands, wives and civil partners but not unmarried or 'common law' partners) is entitled by law to life enjoyment of one-third of it.

If there is no will, or if the will is found to be invalid because it does not comply with Jersey law, the Island's legislation dictates the following:

  • a single person's immovable estate shall be divided equally between his or her heirs (usually brothers or sisters);
  • that the immovable property of a single person with children will be divided between them in equal shares;
  • that the immovable property of someone who leaves behind a wife or civil partner but no children shall go to the surviving wife or civil partner;
  • and that the immovable property of someone who dies leaving a wife or civil partner and children shall be divided equally between the surviving partner and the children, and that in each case the surviving partner will have lifetime enjoyment of the matrimonial home.

Confusion can arise where the families of those with assets in the Island, and practitioners dealing with those estates, are not familiar with Jersey law. They may assume that Jersey is part of the United Kingdom (which it is not) and that a UK Grant will suffice, and be unaware of the requirement to go through a separate probate process in Jersey itself, to obtain a Jersey Grant.

It is possible that, as a result of this lack of awareness, Jersey movable estate may come to be dealt with without a Grant or Letters being obtained, where the custodian of the asset is also unaware of the requirements imposed by Jersey law.  

The Probate Jersey Law (art 23) provides that anyone who takes possession of or who in any way administers any part of a deceased's moveable estate without obtaining a Grant or Letters is guilty of intermeddling and liable to up to 12 month's imprisonment and/or a fine. Although prosecutions are rare, the consequences are serious, and should ensure that appropriate advice is taken and the requisite applications are made.

Although the relationship between Jersey and the UK is in some senses complicated, in a legal sense it is very clear – the two are different jurisdictions, with separate bodies of law. This has an impact on inheritance and probate issues, and non-Jersey practitioners can minimise complexities and delays by taking advice and guidance on Jersey law at an early stage. In most cases, the assistance of a Jersey lawyer will produce a cost effective and faster outcome.

 This article first appeared in STEP Journal.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions