What is a 'Caveat' Used For in Probate

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Julian Cole

Senior Solicitor

Phone 01264 353411

Email jcole@bsandi.co.uk

When someone dies, if you are named as the Executor of the estate in the deceased’s Will, you must show that you are entitled to administer the estate. You show this entitlement by applying for a grant of representation. Once you have the grant of representation, which is sometimes known as the grant of probate, you can start the estate administration process.

A caveat is used to stop a grant from being made. This could be because there is a dispute over a Will or a disagreement about who can apply for the grant of representation itself.  

Before you decide to enter a caveat, you should take legal advice from a specialist probate solicitor. They can give you advice on your circumstances and tell you if you should enter a caveat or not.  They can also submit the caveat for you and if there is a dispute over probate or the will, they can also advise you on your prospects of success in your will dispute. In order to submit a caveat, you have to be over 18 years old. You can submit the caveat in person or send it in the post to the Probate Registry.  Your  Solicitor will be able to deal with the formalities of this application.

If you are the executor under a Will and someone lodges a caveat against the estate, you should immediately speak to a specialist solicitor about your options. You may be in a position to oppose the caveat and to continue with the application for the grant of probate. The procedure for opposing a Caveat is to submit a ‘warning’ to the Probate Registry which will order the person who submitted the caveat to make an ‘appearance’. Once the warning is received, there are only 8 days to get the form for an appearance back in or else the caveat will be set aside and the grant of probate will be issued.   The Caveat will remain in place for 6 months from the date on which it is entered after which it will expire.

When the application for a grant is stopped by a Caveat the grant will not be handed out by the Probate Registry unless a Judge gives permission or the Caveat has been removed. If the application of the grant is stopped due to a Caveat, the person who has entered the caveat will be required to lodge an appearance to set out their interest in the estate or if no such interest to state grounds for which they entered the caveat. If no appearance is entered the caveat will be removed.

The appearance may result in an agreement being reached between the parties. If not usually one or the other will start a probate claim. This will then prevent the sealing of any grant.

If you need advice on submitting a caveat or if you are administering an estate and a caveat has been lodged against the estate, call us at our specialist litigation department now on 01264 353411, via email at litigation @bsandi.co.uk or via our no-obligation online enquiry form and we will be able to help.

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