Citizens Advice Bureau

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LOCAL INFORMATION

8.45.4
Wills and Intestacy

Extent:Jersey
Updated 01 February 2017
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Words you may need to know

Administrator - A person who has been given permission under the law to deal with someone's estate

Estate - The dead person's belongings such as land, property, cars, household furniture etc

Beneficiary - The person who is going to benefit under a will or from a bequest

Bequest - Something which is given to someone in a will which is moveable e.g. a painting

Devise - This is a gift of immovable estate  in a will such as land or property

Dower - The right of a widow to life enjoyment of one third of the immovable estate of her husband after his death

Executor - The person named in a Will to carry out the dead person's wishes

Heir - The person deemed in law as having a claim to the dead person's property on death

Heirs at law - Where no will has been made, the law recognises blood family members in order of priority who are entitled to inherit.

Immovable Estate - Land and buildings belonging to the dead person's estate, including permanent fixtures and fittings. This is often referred to as Real estate

In perpetuity - Forever and a day is how this is sometimes termed. The term means "freehold ownership absolutely". Some people thinks that it means "carrying on within the family" but that is not correct. Anyone inheriting property left to them and their heirs in perpetuity may leave their immovable property to whoever they choose.

Intestacy - This is a situation where the dead person has left no Will, or left an invalid Will, or Will which only partly deals with the estate.

Légitime - The part of an estate that is the legal entitlement of a spouse, civil partner  and/or child

Letters of Administration - The legal right given to a person who is granted the right to administer the estate by the Court

Movable Estate - Anything owned by the dead person which does not come under their immovable estate this is sometimes called personal estate as it is their personal possessions.

Personalty - This is another word for moveable estate

Probate - This is the legal process of proving a Will is genuine so that legal authority can be granted to the executor named in it

Residue - What's left in the estate in money after all debts, gifts and fees have been deducted

Testator - A person who has made a Will

Trust - The placing of all or part of the estate in the hands of trustees who are charged with administering it on behalf of beneficiaries

Trustee - a person or a group of people who are tasked with looking after someone else's money and assets " better than they would look after their own".

Viduité - The right of a widower to life enjoyment of all the immovable estate of his wife after her death until his death or remarriage if there are any children of the marriage

Co-habitee - Someone the person lives with

Invalid - Not legal

Lack of capacity - Someone who is not of sound mind to make decisions for themselves

Codicils - A legal and binding part of a document that has been added on, an addendum

Assets - Things the person owns

Executed - Carried out in a particular way

Wills in Jersey

1.      You can get advice from the Citizens Advice Jersey about making a Will or about problems in relation to a Will. This information gives basic general advice about making a Will and may help you decide what to do if problems arise.

2.      You must go to a lawyer for detailed advice on matters about Wills as Jersey Law on the drafting of Wills is covered by legal rules. Legal aid is not available to help in connection with Wills or probate (except in connection with legal claims that might qualify for Legal Aid).

3.      You can't get detailed advice on your own circumstances on drafting a Will from CItizens Advice Jersey or ask for a will to be witnessed if it is immoveable estate.

Why is it important to make a Will

4.      With no Will in place, a person’s assets pass in accordance with the intestacy rules contained in the Wills and Succession (Jersey) Law 1993 (the ‘1993 Law’) and the Wills and Succession (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 2010 (the ‘2010 Law’).  There are different rules for personal estate and real estate, see Table A and Table B below.

5.      Without a will, a person’s estate may end up passing to relatives that the person does not know or does not like.  A partner, co-habitee, godchild, friend or a charity etc will not inherit under the intestacy rules and so will only inherit if a person has a Will in place providing for them.

6.      A married person’s personal estate (if there are no children) will pass to the surviving spouse under the intestacy rules.  A Will could provide for a situation where both spouses die together in an accident.

7.      If a married person’s personal estate is worth £30,000 or less, and they have children, then the surviving spouse will inherit all the personal estate.  See article 8.45.4.L4 ‘When intestacy may be preferable’.  If a married person’s personal estate is worth more than £30,000, and they have children, the surviving spouse will only inherit the whole of the personal estate if that person has made a Will to this effect (subject to Legitime – see Table B).

8.      The intestacy rules do not say what will happen regarding who looks after and cares for minor children or funeral wishes.  Friends and family may be left having to make the difficult decisions and make an ‘educated guess’ as to what a person’s wishes were.

9.      If a married person has children, then the surviving spouse has the ‘usufruct’ or ‘life enjoyment’ of the matrimonial home.  The surviving spouse and children share equally in any other real estate.  Real estate will only pass to the surviving spouse if either (a) there is a Will of Real Estate to this effect or (b) the real estate is held by the spouses jointly as joint tenants, and so passes to the surviving spouse by survivorship.

10.      The only way a person can be certain that their wishes are known and carried out is to have a Will in place.  Knowing that loved ones have been provided for can give peace of mind.

Is it necessary to use a lawyer?

11.      Although it is not a legal requirement, it is recommended that a lawyer is used to prepare your Will(s).

12.      A ‘Homemade’ Will is often not clear enough.  A lack of clarity can lead to uncertainty which can give people the chance to dispute what a person wanted.  Lawyers may need to get involved to resolve the dispute or to establish the person’s intentions and this can be costly.  Delays may result, not to mention the emotional upset, and/or ill-feeling that can be generated between those involved.

There are also legal rules that you may not be aware of which may make your ‘homemade’ Will invalid.

13.      Has the Will been executed correctly? A Will of Immovable Estate (or Real Estate) must be read aloud to the person in the presence of a member of the States of Jersey, one of the Law Officers of the Crown or an Advocate or Jersey Solicitor, who must also be one of the witnesses.  It is also common practice to draft two separate Wills, one to deal with Movable (or Personal) Estate and one to deal with Immovable (or Real) Estate. The provisions in a person’s Will of Immovable (or Real) Estate can affect the amount of stamp duty payable (if any) on death.   A lawyer can advise on this when you appoint them.

14.      Seeing a lawyer has the added benefit of an independent person taking your wishes and preparing the document.  If the Will was later challenged for say, alleged lack of capacity, there is an independent person confirming that in their opinion, the person had capacity to give instructions and there will be attendance notes in support.  The Will is less likely to be challenged. Lawyers will also advise on the position regarding legitime (see Table B).

15.      The lawyer will also confidentially store the original Will(s), free of charge.  The Will(s) cannot be mislaid, damaged or interfered with and will remain private.

16.      Lawyers’ fees for preparing a Will(s) vary from firm to firm and also depend on how complex they are.  It is possible to get quotes from law firms to help you decide which law firm to use.

Points to consider when making a Will

17.      You should consider what you want to happen before you meet your lawyer.  Some of the points to consider include:

18.      Check what your finances are including bank accounts, investments and pensions. Get their sort code and account numbers

19.      Decide who you want to be your Executor.  See paragraph below ‘Executors – what are they?’

20.      Decide who you want to give the gift of a legacy (cash gift) or the gift of a bequest (an item of jewellery/personal effects) to. Maybe it is to a charity or organisation?

21.      If anyone you name dies, what do you want to happen, do you want their children or family to have it?

22.      Who do you want to look after any minors (children) Will you name a  Guardian? (someone to look after them)

23.      What are your funeral wishes?

What should be included in a Will

24.      It is worth giving some thought to the major points you want included in the Will. Under the Wills and Succession (Jersey) Law 1993 there are certain conditions which apply to how a person can dispose of their movable estate (personalty i.e. money and possessions) and immovable estate (land and property). See tables A and B.

25.      Before visiting your lawyer, you should:

26.      work out how much money and what property and possessions you have, including: savings, work pensions, insurance policies, bank accounts, shares etc.

27.      decide who you would like to inherit, after the necessary legal bequests have been made according to the Wills and Successions (Jersey) Law 1993 - see tables A and B. Make arrangements for the future care of any children. It is possible to name a guardian in the event of both you and your partner being killed at the same time, or in the case of a single parent (when no other party has guardianship, or care and control) This should be discussed with the person you are going to name before seeing the lawyer.

28.      decide who is going to sort out the estate and carry out your wishes in the Will, i.e. the executor(s).

Who can I leave my money/property to?

Further words you may need to know now

Testator - you, the person making the Will

Power of Disposition - the ability to give away/ leave

Immoveable estate - land, property and some leases

Descendents/‘issue’  - the dead person's children

Trust- this is a legal way to hold someone else's property

Spouse - husband or wife

Illegitimate - a child born while the parents were not married

Executor dative - someone appointed to take the role of Executor

Transactions - a business dealing

 

TABLE A: Power of Disposition over Immovable Estate

Situation of Testator

Power of Disposition subject to certain conditions

Unmarried

The whole except to a trust

Leaving no surviving spouse or descendants

The whole except to a trust

Leaving no surviving spouse but leaving descendants

The whole except to a trust

Leaving a surviving spouse but no descendants

The whole except to a trust and subject to right of dower or viduité

Leaving a surviving spouse and descendants

The whole except to a trust and subject to right of dower or viduité 

 

TABLE B: Power of Disposition over Movable Estate

Situation of Testator

Power of Disposition subject to certain conditions

Unmarried

The whole

Leaving no surviving spouse or descendants

The whole

Leaving no surviving spouse but descendants

1/3rd net movable estate with 2/3rd to the légitime descendants

Leaving a surviving spouse but no descendants

1/3rd net movable estate. Surviving spouse's légitime comprises household effects and 2/3rd net movable estate

Leaving a surviving spouse and descendants

1/3rd net movable estate. Surviving spouse's légitime comprises household effects and 1/3rd net movable estate. Descendants légitime comprises 1/3rd net movable estate

Illegitimacy

29.      Jersey law used to not make allowances for illegitimate children.  The enactment of the Wills and Succession (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 2010 (the ‘New Law’), for the first time, got rid of this difference by granting rights to a man’s illegitimate children. The change in the Law does not apply to Wills made prior to 2010.

30.      Throughout the Wills and Succession (Jersey) Law 1993 (the ‘Principal Law’) reference is made to the ‘spouse’ and ‘issue’ of the deceased and under the terms of the Principal Law, rights were only granted to a man’s legitimate children. Illegitimate children were excluded from benefitting.

31.      The result of the new law is that the illegitimate children of a man who dies, have the same rights of succession regardless of whether the father was married or not.

32.      There is no distinction between a woman’s legitimate or illegitimate children.

33.      Legitimated children are treated as if they were always legitimate, and adopted children are treated in all respects as natural children.

Joint bank accounts

34.      On the death of one of the partners in a joint bank account, the account normally continues in the name of the surviving partner, but this will depend upon the mandate signed when the account was opened, e.g. whether the account needed both signatures for transactions to be made. If in doubt, check with your bank.

Executors - what are they?

35.      Executors are people named in a Will of movable estate responsible for carrying out the wishes of the person who has died and sorting out the estate. They will have to collect together all the assets, deal with all paperwork, pay any debts, taxes, funeral and other costs out of the estate.

36.      A will of immovable property needs no executor because from the date of death to the date the will is registered the property "vests" in the heirs of the deceased. On registration of the will, the property title passes to the beneficiary/ies automatically.

Who to choose as executors

37.      Anyone can be appointed executor, including named beneficiaries of the Will. It is not necessary to appoint more than one executor although it may be advisable. The most commonly used executors are:

38.      relatives and friends,

39.      lawyers or accountants,

40.      trust companies,

41.      It is important to choose executors with considerable care since their job can involve a great deal of work and responsibility. You should always approach anyone you are thinking of appointing as an executor to see if they will agree to take on the responsibility.

42.      It is often convenient to appoint a beneficiary of the Will as an executor as they will have a direct interest in getting the job done quickly. If someone is appointed who is not willing to be an executor, they have the right to refuse to act but not after they have started to deal with the estate.

43.      If there is more than one executor it is useful that each knows of the other executor, and how to contact them in the event of the death. The wording of the Will regarding executors is important. If more than one executor is appointed "jointly" all executors must apply for probate (unless they opt to renounce). If the appointment is "joint or severally" one or all can apply for probate.

Relatives and friends

44.      A married partner is often made executor of a person's Will particularly if there are no grown-up children. This is useful, since the partner is likely to have a major interest in the Will. However, it is also advisable to appoint one or more co-executors, since the partner will have many other matters to deal with after the death and will be under considerable strain at the time. In this case, an adult child, close friend or relative could also be appointed. A gift can be left in the Will as compensation for their effort as they are otherwise entitled only to claim from the estate for expenses.

45.      The advantage of choosing friends or relatives as executors is to avoid the costs which  professional executors charge such as lawyers or banks.

46.      In all cases it is helpful to appoint more than one executor or an alternative executor in case one of them dies.

Lawyers or accountants

47.      It is possible to appoint a lawyer or accountant to be an executor, and a clause will be included in the Will so that the professional fees for the administration can be charged to the estate. You should  ask the lawyer or accountant at the outset what the fees are likely to be for acting as executor.

Trust Companies (It is not possible to appoint a bank as executor of a Will.)

48.      It is possible to appoint a trust company as an executor of a Will, but only if authorised under the Probate (Jersey) Law 1998. This could be helpful if the family is likely to be in dispute, or if the Will is particularly complex. A trust company is impartial, experienced in investment and trust management, and is, of course, certain to survive the person making the Will. The disadvantages of using a trust company are the impersonal nature of the relationship - for example, concerning the funeral arrangements, and the often very high costs that may be involved.

49.      The basic charge for acting as an executor is usually a percentage of the gross value of the estate. The different trust companies operate different scales, and one may be better than another depending on the size of the estate. The trust companies also have different minimum charges. It is advisable to get estimates and scales of charges from the trust companies concerned before appointing a trust company as an executor.

What is needed for a Will to be valid?

50.      In order for a Will to be valid, it must:

51.      be made by a person who is 18 years or over (unless the person is married)

52.      be made voluntarily and without pressure from any other person

53.      be made by a person of "sound mind". Where there is the possibility of doubt about the mental capacity, it would be advisable to have the person making the Wills doctor as one of the witnesses

54.      be signed or acknowledged in the presence of two independent witnesses (i.e. not a relative or beneficiary) at the same time that the Will is signed and dated.  A Will of Immovable Property must be read out aloud to the testator and one of the witnesses must include either a member of the States of Jersey, one of the Law Officers of the Crown or an Advocate or Jersey Solicitor.

55.      If the person making the Will is blind, cannot read or write or is not familiar with or fluent in English they can still make a valid Will. It must be clear that they understood and approved the contents of the Will - for example, there should be evidence that the Will was read over to them so that it was fully understood.

How to keep a Will

56.      Once a Will has been made it should be kept carefully and in a safe place, and nothing attached to it. Do not remove any staples or clips

57.      There are a number of places that a Will can be kept:

58.      At home. If you want to keep the Will at home, it is advisable to keep it together with other valuable documents such a marriage/birth certificates, share certificates, etc.

59.      At a lawyer's office. Lawyers will watch the death announcements in the local papers to see whether one of their clients has died in order to make sure the family/executor(s) have the Will. A copy may be provided by the lawyer to be kept at home.

60.      At a bank or trust company. All banks will agree to hold Wills on behalf of individuals. One advantage is that the Will is completely safe, but next of kin or executors should know where the Will is being kept.

Leaving information in addition to a Will

61.      You might wish to leave other information as well as making a Will, but this should not be attached to the Will itself. It can be helpful to leave some guidance on practical arrangements to be made, for example, details of funeral, or organ donation.

Dealing with problems with Wills

62.      Problems arising from Wills will nearly always need expert legal advice. Legal aid may be available with problems with Wills and you should ask at the Citizens Advice Jersey for help.

If a Will cannot be found

63.        If you believe a Will has been left, but cannot find any trace of it, you could get in touch with the following to see if they know where it is;

·         lawyers who the dead person may have used

·         the office of the Acting Batônnier in case legal aid was used

·         the banks the dead person used

·         close friends, or relatives

·         the doctor(s) of the dead person who may have been a witness

·         if the dead person lived in a residential home or hospital, the administrators of the home or hospital, in case they had care of a Will

64.      If the Will cannot be found, they will be treated as dying intestate. If a Will cannot be found but there is evidence that a Will was made and of the wishes of the person who died, then it may be possible for a copy to be valid. This will depend on the evidence available, and a copy of a Will must be referred to the Court seeking a direction that the copy may be taken into probate.

A Will is found after the estate is settled

65.      If a Will is found after letters of administration have been granted and the Will is valid, the letters of administration will be revoked and probate granted instead. If a later Will is found this will usually take effect, depending on its validity. In both circumstances you would have to refer to the Court.

Changes to a Will/codicils

66.      It is important when a Will is made to keep it up to date to take account of changes of circumstance. The most common changes which affect a Will are:

67.      getting married, remarried or entering a civil partnership

68.      getting divorced or separated

69.      the birth or adoption of children

70.      the death of a spouse

71.      the death of a named beneficiary

Purchase of property

72.      When a person marries, an existing Will should be rewritten because the law entitles the spouse to a certain share of the estate and a Will is normally written to take this into account.

73.      If a person has been divorced since making a Will, they should have their Will amended because any bequests to the spouse, or their appointment as executor, will be nullified by the divorce but the rest of your Will remains valid. Similarly, the legal provisions to the spouse do not operate if a couple have been living apart at the time of one of their deaths, or there is a judicial separation.

Making a new Will

74.      Changes to a Will must not be made by writing onto an existing Will. A Will can be changed at any time by adding on codicils, legally binding amendments which must be signed and witnessed in the same way as a Will. If the changes required are more major, a new Will should be considered.

75.      A new Will automatically revokes or cancels all earlier Wills, however the wording will normally include a clause stating that all previous Wills and codicils are revoked.

Revoking a Will

76.      Revocation (or cancellation) can take place at any time before the testator's death. The revocation may be of the whole Will or just part of it or may be effected by the destruction of the Will, execution of a further Will or codicil, by showing the intention to revoke by, for example, writing "this Will is revoked" on it. It is advisable to seek legal advice before revoking a Will, or part of a Will because unforeseen circumstances can follow from revocation due to Jersey's laws on the disposition of assets.

Destroying a Will

77.      Accidental destruction does not revoke a Will, and a copy may be available (for example, at the lawyer's office). The copy would need to be proved by order of the Court, see para 46.

78.      Destroying a Will in order to revoke it must be carried out by the testator, or in their presence. It should be burnt, torn up or otherwise completely destroyed so that it cannot be reassembled. If a copy exists, that too must be destroyed or it may be thought that the destruction of the Will was accidental. An instruction to an executor to destroy a Will has no effect.

An executor dies

79.      If an executor dies and there are other surviving executors then these executors can deal with the estate. If an executor dies after the person who made the Will and there are no other executors, then the position is more complicated. In this case an executor dative will usually be appointed to deal with the estate and to distribute it according to the terms of the Will. There are special rules about who can be an administrator in these circumstances. If this affects you, you should always go to a lawyer if the executors of a Will are no longer alive. The executor dative would be appointed by the Registrar of Probate subject to certain conditions.

A beneficiary dies

80.      If a beneficiary of a Will dies before the person making the Will the gift goes back into the estate and becomes part of the residue. However, if the beneficiary who dies is a child of the person who made the Will then the children or grandchildren of that child will inherit.

81.      If the person dies to whom the residue of the estate is left, the rules of intestacy will apply to the property in the residue. This would also apply if no residue clause was included in the Will.

82.      If the beneficiary dies after the person making the Will but before they receive the gift, the gift will become part of the beneficiary's estate.

If the person who made a Will commits suicide

83.      If the person who made the Will commits suicide, the Will is still valid.

Challenging a Will

84.      A person may want to challenge a Will because the person who died was either:

85.      Not legally able to make a Will.  That person would have to produce evidence to show that the person was not capable of making a Will;

86.      Under pressure to make the Will and provide for people in a certain way.  That person would have to produce evidence to show that the person who made the Will was unduly influenced;

87.      The person feels that they have not received the bequest to which they are entitled under the Wills and Successions (Jersey) Law 1993. A Summons would be issued to the Executor and the matter brought before the Royal Court which would then issue an Order reducing the Will ‘ad legitmum modem’.

88.      A Will must be challenged within a year and a day from the date of the Grant of Probate and should a person wish to challenge a Will then they should seek legal advice.

89.      At customary law, an heir who has received, during the lifetime of the deceased, a gift known as avancement de succession, could, after the death of the testator, be called upon by the co-heirs to bring the avancement back into the  movable estate, at its value when the gift was made, before it was divided. This is called "rapport a la masse". However, the heir can nevertheless participate in the division of the movable estate if the gift they received was expressly made from the donor's disposable third. The heir may elect to keep (rester sur ses avances) the avancement and renounce their right to participate in the sucession provided the avance does not exceed the testator's disposable third.

Who can see the Will

90.      (a) Wills of Personal Estate.  Once Probate has been granted then the Will is a public document.  A copy may be obtained from the Judicial Greffe and there is a charge for this.  Notice is required for a Wills search to be carried out;

91.      (b) Wills of Real Estate.  As the Will is registered in the Public Registry as a contract it is a public document after the death of the testator.  To obtain a copy see leaflet 8.45.4.L3.

INTESTACY

92.      When a person dies without having made a Will they have died "intestate". The person's estate has to be dispensed according to the Wills and Successions (Jersey) Law 1993 as amended by the Wills and Succession (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 2010. Instead of property passing intact to the eldest male heir, it is now divided evenly among all the heirs at law, male and female.

93.      The estate can only be distributed after Letters of Administration have been granted by the Judicial Greffier. The Application must be made by the eldest son or daughter if no sons, the spouse, or parent according to the circumstances of the deceased. Advice will be given by the Judicial Greffe - "Personal applications for Letters of Administration".

 

Distribution of Immovable Estate (where there is NO Will)

Situation of Deceased

Beneficiaries

Unmarried

Heirs at Law

Leaving no surviving spouse or descendants

Heirs at Law

Leaving no surviving spouse but leaving descendants

Heirs at Law

Leaving a surviving spouse but no descendants

Surviving spouse takes all

Leaving a surviving spouse and descendants

Surviving spouse has life enjoyment of the matrimonial home and interest in the reversion with the descendants. Surviving spouse and descendants take equal shares in any other remaining property

 

Distribution of Movable Estate (where there is NO Will)

Situation of Deceased

Beneficiaries

Unmarried

Heirs at Law

Leaving no surviving spouse or descendants

Heirs at Law

Leaving no surviving spouse but descendants

Descendants

Leaving a surviving spouse but no descendants

Surviving spouse takes all net movable estate

Leaving a surviving spouse and descendants

Surviving spouse takes household effects, other movable estate to the value of £30,000 and half the rest of the net movable estate. Descendants take remaining half of net movable estate

'Heirs at Law'

94.      The terms "heirs at law" and "descendants" are defined as follows:

In law, heirs and descendants include relations to the "seventh degree", which could in practice, mean many possible heirs. It is therefore necessary to seek advice on your likelihood of being an heir. If you would like to know who might inherit you should contact the Administrator of the estate, or take legal advice.

95.      If the deceased is single person, with neither siblings nor children then parents would inherit the estate.

Divorce and Separation

96.      Following divorce, one partner has no rights to inherit from the other. Separated spouses may inherit from an intestate partner, but the right may be challenged by other parties, e.g. children if "desertion without cause" is involved. The onus of proof is on the challenger, and if you are in such a situation you must seek legal advice.

Step-children

97.      The Law does not recognise step-children as descendants unless they have been formally adopted.

Executor's rights to interest on estates

98.      The executor is no longer entitled to the income arising on the movable estate during the year that follows the testator's death, but they can make reasonable charges to cover the expenses incurred in administering the estate.

Unmarried Couples

99.      Unmarried couples who live together have no inheritance rights in law when their partner dies, other than through their joint ownership of property or by Will.

Civil Partners

100.      Civil partners now have the same rights and responsibilities as married couples under the terms of the Civil Partnership (Jersey) Law 2012

Use of an inheritance within a year

101.      The Beneficiary must wait a year and a day from the date of probate before they can make use of the inheritance in case the Will is contested, but this period may be waived by agreement between all parties, and this is the norm. The Executor may require a simple indemnity to be signed by the beneficiary if a distribution is made before the year and a day has expired.

Disagreements between executor and beneficiary - "Caveat"

102.      Beneficiaries who feel an estate has been wrongly or badly administered should seek guidance from the Registrar of Probate at the Judicial Greffe, or get legal advice (Legal aid is a possibility). A "Caveat" may be placed on the estate to prevent the administration of the estate going ahead. To lift a Caveat an action must be heard before the Royal Court unless an agreement between the parties can be reached. Complaints against an executor who is a lawyer should be directed to the Registrar of Probate at the Judicial Greffe as they have sworn an oath as Executor in the Royal Court.

Are Wills effective immediately they are written and signed?

103.      Yes - both of movable and immovable estate provided that the Will of Immovable Estate has been correctly executed in accordance with Jersey Law.

104.      The year and a day. For practical purposes "a year and a day" is taken from the date of the Jersey Grant of Probate (in the case of movable estate) and taken from the date of registration of a Will relating to the Jersey Real Estate in the Public Registry (in the case of immovable estate) although the new Law of Succession is unclear and could be taken to mean the period starting from the date of death.

An executor does not wish to act

105.      A named executor cannot just refuse to act. They would have to renounce the duty formally through the Courts and if no alternative executor had been named in the Will, the Registrar of Probate would appoint "an executor dative". The process to renounce executorship  will be explained by the Judicial Greffier.

Something has been attached to the will/there are staple holes or paper clip marks on it

106.      If a Will or codicil is presented to the Judicial Greffe with pinholes, staples, staple holes or paper clip marks on it an Affidavit of Plight and Condition will be required. This is to ensure that a testamentary document that may have been attached has not been removed. The Affidavit is a sworn statement of what was attached, and the circumstances in which the item was removed or why the holes were made.

Joint assets

107.      Where assets are held 'jointly and for the survivor', such assets will pass to the survivor upon the death of the first party. The survivor is then considered to have received a gift of one half of the assets from the deceased party as at the date of death. Such gift is legally classed as 'an advance'.

108.      Where the deceased leaves chid/ren who are entitled to a share of the estate, the division of the estate will be affected by whether all the assets of the couple are in joint names, or whether the deceased had some other assets in their own name:

109.      If all the assets are held in joint names, the survivor can keep everything from the joint assets by way of survivorship, because they lay no claim to any part of the deceased's estate which was in their name alone (as in this case it does not exist). 

If some of the deceased's assets were in their own name and the surviving partner decided to claim a share of those assets in addition to the joint assets they would receive as a survivor, then the child/ren could legally claim their share of the deceased's estate in sole name, plus their share of the half the joint assets.

110.      To obtain assets after a death all that is usually required is for the survivor to produce a copy of the death certificate to the asset holders, e.g. Banks, etc. In the case of share transfer property, a copy of the death certificate should be lodged with the Company Secretary who will then issue a new certificate in the survivor's name.NB : Blood relatives in a set order of priority are entitled to benefit in an intestacy. These start with the descendants, their brothers and sisters, or if they are dead, their children, grandchildren and so on. Then the parents.

 A Will instruction sheet from Voisin Law is available to download here