Where a person has died leaving assets in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), one of the following will be required in order to deal with those assets
(1) a grant of probate has been issued by the Registry; or
(2) a grant of letters of administration has been obtained from the Registry; or where a foreign grant is eligible for resealing
(3) the deceased shareholder’s foreign grant of probate or letters of administration has been re-sealed by the Registry.
Without a grant assets will cannot be transferred, and any powers derived from the asset cannot be exercised, and any benefit cannot be distributed.
Until recently foreign grants could only resealed in the BVI where the grant was issued by courts of probate in “Her Majesty’s dominions”which were limited to:
- any British protectorate;
- any [British] protected state; or
- any territory in respect of which a mandate or trusteeship is being exercised by Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom or the Government of any part of Her Majesty’s dominions.
The absence of a clear list of jurisdictions, often added to the cost, delay and complexity of the BVI probate process.
In July 2021, the Probates (Resealing) Act, 2021 (the Act) repealed The Probates (Resealing) Act (Cap. 60), 1937 (the 1937 Act) to modernize and provide greater flexibility to the trusts and probate laws in the BVI.
Importantly the Act expands the list of relevant jurisdictions to whose grants of representations may be resealed in the BVI. Including Hong Kong and the USA in addition to all Commonwealth countries.