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Lodging a Caveat or seeking to remove a Caveat

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Obtaining a Grant of Representation will provide an Executor or Administrator control over the deceased’s estate and is therefore an important stage in the administration of most estates. A Grant of Representation would ordinarily be required if an estate exceeds £5,000 (after funeral expenses have been paid). A legal document known as a ‘Caveat’ can however be lodged at a Probate Registry which will prevent a Grant of Representation from being made whilst the Caveat remains in force.

There are two main types of Grants of Representation. Either a Grant of Probate, which would apply if the Deceased made a Will, or a Grant of Letters of Administration where the deceased died intestate (without having made a Will). In the interest of brevity, we refer below, solely to a Grant of Probate. The same issues discussed will also however apply to a Caveat which prevents  a Grant of Letters of Administration from being obtained.

Why would someone need this service?

In some situations it may be important to seek to prevent a Grant of Probate from being obtained.  The procedure for taking such action is to lodge a document known as a Caveat.  Common situations where it may be advisable to do this are as follows:

  • If there is concern that the Will was not properly signed or witnessed.
  • There is concern that the deceased did not have the mental capacity to make a Will.
  • There is a suggestion the Will is fraudulent.
  • There is a suggestion that an undue influence was exerted on the person making the Will, to the extent that the Will did not represent their true wishes.
  • There is a concern that the person seeking to obtain the Grant of Probate may not be a suitable person to do so.

If any of the above scenarios apply, then a Caveat may be lodged at any Probate Registry.  A copy of the relevant form can be found here : (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/845943/pa8a-eng.pdf ).  There is currently a £20 fee to pay on lodging a Caveat.  

Once obtained a Caveat will last for a period of 6 months, unless it is voluntarily withdrawn.  This initial 6 month period can be extended for a further period of 6 months and beyond if required. If the time period is not extended the Caveat will lapse.  As long as a Caveat is in place, it will prevent anyone from obtaining a Grant of Probate without formal steps being taken to remove it.

A Caveat can be removed if the person who lodged the Caveat decides to do so voluntarily, or someone objects to the Caveat remaining in place and that objection is upheld.  An objection to the issuing of a Caveat is made by lodging a legal document known as a “Warning” at the Probate Registry.  If a Warning is issued, then the person who entered the Caveat has two options: either to agree that the Caveat should be withdrawn; or to state why the Caveat should remain in place.  If the Caveat is to remain in place, an explanation as to why it has been lodged and should remain in place must be set out in a further legal document known as an “Appearance” at the Probate Registry.

 

If an Appearance is entered, the Caveat will remain as a permanent fixture and it can then only be removed by either court proceedings being commenced and the court deciding the issue in dispute, or either party issuing a Summons seeking its removal which will be heard before a District Probate Registrar.

Irrespective of whether you are seeking to lodge or remove a Caveat it is very important that you obtain good legal advice at the outset.  Unfortunately, maintaining an incorrect position in relation to a Caveat may lead to adverse costs consequences being made against you.

Please note, the procedure described above, is not appropriate when a claim is being sought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (’The 1975 Act’).  In that situation, the parties should allow a Grant of Probate to proceed. There is further discussion regarding claims being made under the 1975 Act here: https://www.grantsaw.com/services-for-you/contested-probate/claims-under-the-inheritance-provision-for-family-and-dependants-act-1975/

How long is the process of obtaining a caveat or seeking the removal of it?

A Caveat can be obtained fairly promptly, usually within 7 to 14 days of issuing an application to the Probate Registry.

With regard to seeking to remove a Caveat; if a “Warning” is served on the person who obtained the Caveat, that person will have a period of 14 days to enter an “Appearance” to state why they believe the Caveat should remain in place.

It can sometimes be difficult to find out whether a Caveat has been lodged as there is no requirement that once lodged the Caveat must be served on anyone. Therefore Personal Representatives may first learn of the existence of a Caveat when a Grant of Probate is applied for.

Is it expensive?

The procedure for entering a Caveat itself is unlikely to be expensive.  The probate fee for instance is currently only £20.

The filing of a Caveat or its removal is unlikely to be a straightforward issue however.  There will be probably be wider considerations in place.  For instance, why was a Caveat sought in the first place?  It is those issues which will need to be carefully considered and ultimately resolved in order for the estate to be properly administered.

We will provide you with a cost estimate at the outset and in advance.  Furthermore the cost estimate will be updated if the matter proceeds.

What should people do before calling?

If there was a Will, it would be useful to have that document to hand.  Similarly if a Caveat or a Warning has already been obtained, then it would be useful to have those documents also.

Meet the Lodging a Caveat or seeking to remove a Caveat team
Ray Crudgington
Managing Partner
greenwich
02083054224
ray.crudgington@grantsaw.co.uk
Maria Lati
Partner
Head of Residential Property
blackheath
02083054229
maria.lati@grantsaw.co.uk
Michael Clary
Partner
Head of Family
greenwich
02083054237
michael.clary@grantsaw.co.uk
Kalpa Prajapati
Partner
Head of Private Client
blackheath
02083053536
kalpa.prajapati@grantsaw.co.uk
Mario Savvides
Partner
Head of Commercial Property
greenwich
02083053531
mario.savvides@grantsaw.co.uk
Sarah-Kate Jackson
Partner
Head of Litigation
greenwich
02083054236
sarah-kate.jackson@grantsaw.co.uk
Adina-Leigh Collins
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053556
adina-leigh.collins@grantsaw.co.uk
Aimal Gram
Commercial Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053524
aimal.gram@grantsaw.co.uk
Aisha Mohammed
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054228
aisha.mohammed@grantsaw.co.uk
Aishat Balogun
Aishat Balogun
Family
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054214
aishat.balogun@grantsaw.co.uk
An Le Tran
Commercial Property
Professional Support Solicitor
greenwich
02083054226
anle.tran@grantsaw.co.uk
Angus Young
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054225
angus.young@grantsaw.co.uk
Atifha Aftab
Atifha Aftab
Family
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054238
atifha.aftab@grantsaw.co.uk
Bimal Kotecha
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053523
bimal.kotecha@grantsaw.co.uk
Charlotte Mandy
Charlotte Mandy
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083054231
charlotte.mandy@grantsaw.co.uk
Claire Mac Mahon
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053537
claire.macmahon@grantsaw.co.uk
Deborah Taite
Residential Property
Solicitor
blackheath
02083053542
deborah.taite@grantsaw.co.uk
Emily Pearce
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053526
emily.pearce@grantsaw.co.uk
Georgia Beales
Litigation
Paralegal
greenwich
02083054206
georgia.beales@grantsaw.co.uk
James McKimm
James McKimm
Corporate and Commercial
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054217
james.mckimm@grantsaw.co.uk
Jeremy Brooks
Jeremy Brooks
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083053534
jeremy.brooks@grantsaw.co.uk
Joanna Godden
Notary Public
Notary
greenwich
02083083535
joanna.godden@grantsaw.co.uk
Kim Whitaker
Kim Whitaker
Corporate and Commercial
Head of Corporate and Commercial
greenwich
02083053539
kim.whitaker@grantsaw.co.uk
Laura Danquah
Compliance Manager
greenwich
02083054222
laura.danquah@grantsaw.co.uk
Lauren Smith
Employment and Family
Paralegal
greenwich
02083053543
lauren.smith@grantsaw.co.uk
Maleeha Iqbal
Residential Property
Licensed Conveyancer
greenwich
02083054232
maleeha.iqbal@grantsaw.co.uk
Mandeep Clair
Family
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054235
mandeep.clair@grantsaw.co.uk
Michael Pope
Employment
Consultant Solicitor
greenwich
02083053540
michael.pope@grantsaw.co.uk
Michelle Pinnington
Michelle Pinnington
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054216
michelle.pinnington@grantsaw.co.uk
Raj Waghela
Raj Waghela
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053529
raj.waghela@grantsaw.co.uk
Randeep Thethy
Randeep Thethy
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054209
randeep.thethy@grantsaw.co.uk
Ruggero Pesciatini
Ruggero Pesciatini
Corporate and Commercial
Paralegal
greenwich
02083054220
ruggero.pesciatini@grantsaw.co.uk
Saad Hameed
Residential Property
Trainee Solicitor
greenwich
02083053528
saad.hameed@grantsaw.co.uk
Sarah Conner
Sarah Conner
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083054234
sarah.conner@grantsaw.co.uk
Simran Lalli
Simran Lalli
Employment
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054208
simran.lalli@grantsaw.co.uk
Susan Collins
Commercial Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054200
susan.collins@grantsaw.co.uk
Tatiana Zenina
Tatiana Zenina
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083054239
tatiana.zenina@grantsaw.co.uk
Trisha Djemal
Trisha Djemal
Residential Property
Consultant Solicitor
blackheath
02083053546
trisha.djemal@grantsaw.co.uk
Tyrone Grant
Residential Property
Head of Leasehold Enfranchisement
blackheath
02083053522
tyrone.grant@grantsaw.co.uk
Denise
Accounts Staff
greenwich
02088586971
enquiries@grantsaw.co.uk
Jayne Lye
Support Staff
Office Manager
greenwich
02083054204
jayne.lye@grantsaw.co.uk
Jamie
Support Staff
Head of IT
greenwich
02088586971
enquiries@grantsaw.co.uk
Kasia
Accounts Staff
greenwich
02088586971
enquiries@grantsaw.co.uk
Michael Tobin
Michael Tobin
Support Staff
Marketing and Business Development Manager
greenwich
02083053550
michael.tobin@grantsaw.co.uk
Sue Holness
Support Staff
Customer Services
greenwich
02083054221
sue.holness@grantsaw.co.uk