When there is a dispute over the validity of a Will or as to who should be dealing with the deceased’s estate, one option is to lodge a ‘Caveat’ with the Court to stop any further actions. The effect of this is that the estate is effectively frozen.
Even simple tasks such as closing bank accounts or giving away any items cannot be carried out once a Caveat is entered at the Probate Registry.
The Caveat will stay in place for a period of 6 months but can be extended an innumerable number of times. It can be withdrawn at any point eg if dispute/issues are resolved.
Be aware however that a Caveat can be challenged by anyone applying to be an Executor. It is very important that the person who registered the Caveat responds to the Court notices or the Caveat will be removed. If such a response is made, the Caveat will stay in place and can only be removed by the consent of both parties or through Court action.
A Caveat is a useful tool if there is a dispute over whether a later Will actually exists or there is a question mark over who can apply to deal with the estate. However if it is to be used then action needs to be taken immediately.
You should note that a Caveat can only be used in limited circumstances: it should not be used to extend the deadline for claiming financial provision from a person’s estate. It should not be used to address general concerns about a Will. It is important that you are clear about your intentions and reasons for entering a Caveat because there can be consequences of misusing the process.
Our specialist contentious probate lawyers can assist you in a preparing and sending your Caveat to the local District Probate Registry and advise on next steps. To learn more about the surrounding processes, please contact us for advice by calling 0113 201 4900 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to Blog