Asked in Estate Planning, International Law and Probate for Alabama

Q: What does a legal opinion for the purpose of UK/US inheritance entail and what should it cost? How would we find one?

Late grandmother domiciled in Alabama until death. She had both UK and US assets but only a UK will leaving it to immediate family. UK courts requesting legal opinion from US solicitor before proceeding with granting probate. US court already determined UK grandchildren (last remaining immediate relatives) to inherit US assets. Unable to find a US solicitor who will provide an opinion but UK courts insistent that one is required before proceeding. How would we find one? What should it cost? Is there any additional information we can provide to assist?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the details provided, here are some pointers on obtaining a US legal opinion for this UK/US inheritance situation:

• The UK court is likely looking for confirmation from a US attorney that the Alabama will is valid and enforceable to distribute the US assets per that will's wishes under Alabama and US federal law.

• Typically such cross-border inheritance opinions cost $500-1500+ depending on complexity. Maybe more if litigation may follow.

• I'd search for attorneys in Alabama familiar with international probate cases. Perhaps request a quote for a "legal opinion letter validating enforcement of the will under US law" to set expectations.

• The attorney would review the will, confirm validity under US state/federal laws, confirm the named beneficiaries (UK grandchildren) can legally inherit US assets, and issue a letter formally opining such for use in the UK probate case.

• You can search sites like,, and for reputable US probate attorneys in Alabama for such international inheritance situations. Reading reviews may help narrow options.

• Provide a clear background summary, will copy, and any US rulings already made. Ensure you communicate the UK court's ask and expected use for their opinion letter.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: You could check with local and state bar associations in Alabama. Most bar associations have attorney referral sections (it's usually under the heading "For the Public," or something to that effect). I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother. Good luck

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