Owning property in more than one country will lead to a more complicated probate process. Often, the executor of a deceased person's estate will begin probate in one jurisdiction, only to learn while inventorying the estate that the deceased had property elsewhere. Any property located in another country or territory could be subject to very different probate laws and taxation.
In The Bahamas, the Probate and Administration of Estates Act, 2011 details a process called resealing by which an executor or administrator obtains court permission to administer Bahamian property even though probate was begun in another country. An application for resealing must be made by filing a petition and accompanying documents at the Registry of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas.
The petition must be accompanied by a bond, return, power of attorney signed by the executor or administrator, attorney's affidavit listing the assets located in The Bahamas and their value, two death certificates, two copies of the will (if there is one) certified by the other country's courts, and two copies of any grant of probate or similar document from the other country's courts.
When the court considers the application for resealing, it may require additional evidence showing where the deceased person was domiciled. Further, creditors may apply to the court to request that the estate post security for payment of all debts due to creditors in The Bahamas. In this way, creditors who are not located in the jurisdiction where probate is proceeding can protect their interests in the estate.
Provided that the petition and accompanying documents are all filed correctly, the court will grant the request for resealing, essentially putting its stamp of approval on the executor's request to administer Bahamian property. The executor may then proceed with probate in respect of the Bahamian property as if he had been granted representation by the Bahamian court for purposes of distribution to the heir.
To find out more about international probate, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.