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The Probate Caveat - How To Stop Probate


A grant of probate or grant of letters and administration issued by the probate registry can be halted through a caveat. This allows the caveator [i.e. the person who applied for the caveat] time before the assets are distributed to check whether there are any grounds for contesting the will.

 

It can come as a real surprise to executors of the estate to discover the caveat has actually been issued - because there is no record for notice to be given in advance of the grant of the caveat.

 

Anyone opposing the caveat can issue a ‘Warning’ where the caveat must be produced before the court within eight days. If it is not produced then an application can be made for the issue of grant of probate. Should the caveat be presented it remains in force indefinitely- or at least until the problems surrounding probate is actually resolved either by a direction hearing or formal probate hearing.

 

The caveat is issued by the probate registry upon the presentation of relevant information and the court fee. The caveat will be in force for six months. It can be extended during the sixth month - though an additional court fee is necessary at this stage.

 

Examples of the practical uses of caveats include the following:-

  • where the validity itself of the will is in question
  • where undue influence over the testator is suspected
  • where there are suspicions that the will may be fraudulent
  • where an executor refuses to produce a copy of a will
  • where there is a dispute as to whether the person applying for grant is actually entitled to do so (e.g. if the testator died intestate)
  • where there are worries that they could be some form of disposal of all or part of the estate contrary to the intentions of the testator

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