The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
English law distinguishes between the law governing the administration of a deceased's estate and that governing succession to the estate.
In most civil law jurisdictions no such distinction exists. The deceased's estate does not pass to personal representatives (PRs) but instead passes directly to the heirs who stand in the deceased's shoes and take over their liabilities subject to a power to disclaim this.
The English laws governing the administration of estates and matters of succession are concerned with whether or not the English court has jurisdiction and if it has, which country's law applies.
English law makes a distinction between movable and immovable assets: succession to immovables is governed by the lex situs and succession to movables is governed by the law of the deceased's domicile at their death.
The determination of a deceased person's domicile can be crucial in determining the validity of the Will, liability to inheritance tax (IHT), the right to the grant and succession to the estate.
Every person starts life with a domicile of origin. This will usually be his father's domicile at the time of the child's birth. Until a child reaches age 16, their domicile of origin may be replaced by a domicile of dependency. On reaching 16 years the child retains their domicile of origin
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