If you are concerned about the validity of a Will, the handling of estate administration by executors or you believe you may be entitled to a greater share of an estate than stated, you can enter a "caveat" at the Probate Registry. This process ensures that no one can take out grant of representation without your consultation. This, in turn, can give you time to instruct a solicitor, to consider your rights and to raise a Wills dispute.

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Understanding caveats

Will dispute solicitors commonly help their clients take out caveats in order to prevent grants of probate or letters of administration from being carried through to conclusion. They are an essential process for anyone with credible reservations regarding the validity or enforceability of a Will or in regards to the person or persons appointed to administrate it. If you successfully apply to have a caveat put in place you become known as the "caveator".

When is a caveat appropriate?

Taking out a caveat to delay grant of probate is appropriate in many different situations, including the following:

  • You have reasonable cause to believe that the Will may be fraudulent or invalid
  • You have reasonable cause to believe the Will was made under undue influence
  • There are complicating issues around intestacy
  • You have reasonable belief that the executor is failing to fulfil the testator's wishes

It is important to remember that entering a caveat without honesty or integrity is considered an abuse of proceedings; a crime under the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

The process of obtaining a caveat

It is possible to apply for a caveat at any Principal Registry of the Family Division, district probate registry or probate sub-registry. The following information needs to be provided:

  • The full name, date of death and address of the deceased
  • The name and address of the caveator together with his or her signature or that of his or her solicitor
  • A £20 application fee

Caveats are valid for only six months. However, if you need to extend the caveat you can fill in a form and again pay the £20 fee in order to extend it.

Caveators can remove a caveat by writing to the Probate Registry and asking them to do so.

Challenging a caveat

Caveators have no obligation to notify executors or administrators of the existence of a caveat. However, when parties disagree with a caveat, they can issue a "warning" in response; this obliges the caveator to appear at court within eight days in order to justify the caveat. If the caveator fails to appear at court, the executor or administrator can apply for the grant of probate to be issued. If an appearance is made, the Will dispute may be resolved through compromise; if not, further action may be required.

Inheritance Act claims

Caveats are not appropriate in cases where a person is looking to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This is because inheritance act claims can only be made once the grant of representation has been made.

Oratto Will dispute solicitors

Whatever your contested probate issue; whether you wish to contest the validity of a Will, to enter a caveat to grant of probate, or to have a caveat removed, Oratto can help you will find the Will dispute solicitor who is right for you. You can then rest assured that you are taking the necessary steps to uphold your full legal rights.

Our Will dispute specialists can help achieve the following:

  • Timely and efficient caveats
  • Advice when facing a caveat
  • Help issuing a warning against a caveat
  • Help making an appearance following the issuing of a warning

To make contact today, browse the list of member solicitors featured on this page. Another option, is to try our Oratto Match facility so that we can connect you with the member solicitor best suited to your case.

Oratto – sensitive and authoritative support through a Will dispute so that you can uphold your rights with confidence.

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