Friday, December 9, 2016
Case Summary on Estate Property in Foreign Jurisdiction
ANCILLARY PROBATE: Local court has no jurisdiction over estate property remitted from foreign jurisdiction. The decedent resided abroad for many decades but never relinquished U.S. citizenship. After her death in London, England, where she had resided for many years, administration was opened in an Alabama court, arguably the state of her domicile and where personal property belonging to the estate was located. Subsequently her will was offered for probate in London. The will made no provisions for the decedent’s sole heir, a sister. The administrator, decedent’s nephew, then retained an English firm to represent him in the English probate. The administrator and the executor settled all outstanding issues except for a dispute between the administrator and his English solicitors over their charges. As part of his efforts to secure indemnification from the estate for sums owed to the solicitors, the administrator secured an order from the Alabama court ordering beneficiaries of the will who reside in Alabama to deposit into escrow any distributions received from the English administration. One beneficiary sought a writ of mandamus from the Alabama Supreme Court vacating the escrow order. The court granted the writ, holding that the local probate court has no jurisdiction over the property subject to the English administration. Ex parte Scott, No. 1140645, 2016 WL 6310771 (Ala. Oct. 28, 2016).
Special thanks to William LaPiana (Professor of Law, New York Law School) for bringing this case to my attention.