A caveat probate is used to prevent a grant being issued by the registry. The procedure is normally used in contentious matters as the starting point when one wishes to contest a will. The caveator must lodge a form at the probate registry. In doing so they stop anyone applying for a Grant of Representation (the legal document which allows the applicant control over the deceased person's assets).
If you would like to Enter a Caveat, also referred to as "Lodge a Caveat", and you are unsure how to proceed please purchase our guide for £9.99 which details all the information you need, including the fees charged by the Court Service and where to send your Caveat application.
It is often used to give the caveator the opportunity to liaise with the person applying for Probate, or to make enquiries as to whether there are grounds to contest a will. This could be for many reasons; here are a few likely scenarios:
Disputes Concerning the Will - whether or not one exists, that it is not the last Will, that the deceased was not of sound mind, it had been tampered with or wasn't signed or the witness was a beneficiary.
Dispute Concerning the person/s applying for probate - the entitlement of the person applying, allegations that the person is not 'fit' to apply, 2 or more people equally entitled in disagreement with each-other, grounds to believe the assets will not be distributed as per the will.
If you wish to enter a caveat it strongly advisable to take legal advice because there are many issues that can arise if you take this upon yourself. Call us on 0800 612 6105 for free impartial advice.
What if you've applied and a Caveat on Probate has been issued?
If you object to the probate caveat, a 'Warning' can be served on the caveator by the registry. A document will be sent to the person who contested probate, for their caveat to remain in place, they have to enter an 'appearance' at the registry. This does not mean they must attend in person but send a further document back to the registry within 8 days of receiving your warning.
If no 'appearance' is made (or no document received) their caveat will be removed and you'll be free to apply for a grant. If they do enter an appearance, the caveat will remain in force.
What Happens Next?
A probate caveat remains in force for 6 months from the date it is entered. The month before it is due to expire, an application to extend it for a further 6 months can be made. The only way for it to then be removed is for both parties to consent. It is therefore necessary for parties to make contact and hopefully resolve their issues and agree a way forward.
What if No Agreement can be reached?
At this point, you may wish to seek legal advice as the matter becomes extremely complicated and you'll need to be aware of the implications. Either the caveator or the person applying for Probate may commence court proceedings. You could become liable to pay all costs involved.
IWC have a free-phone advice line open 7 days a week until 10pm. We offer free, impartial help and advice on caveats and estate administration, call 0800 612 6105 alternatively purchase our Caveat guide here.