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How To Block A Will Being Implemented

Posted: Monday, 17 February 2020 @ 11:20

Blocking A Will

Often a sensible first step in stopping a will being proven and grant of probate to an unsuitable executor is to enter a caveat, as it prevents a grant being made in respect of an estate. 

Unless warned, caveats generally remain in force for six months, unless the registrar orders otherwise but they can be extended for subsequent periods but what are caveats? 

What are caveats? Caveats are a system of preventing common form grants. They are important where there are genuine concerns about the validity of a Will or the suitability of a particular person acting as executor or administrator. The caveat procedure is used to prevent a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration being taken out in respect of a deceased’s estate. The person who puts the caveat in place is called the caveator.

Why would you want to lodge a caveat? The reasons include: Where the caveator wants to prevent the Grant of Probate being taken out as they believe the Will of the deceased is invalid for some reason, such as the person who made the Will did not have the mental capacity to do so, or the Will was not properly witnessed; Where the caveator wants to prevent a Grant of Letters of Administration being taken out on the basis that the deceased died intestate, when they believe there was a validly-executed Will in existence; or where the caveator is aware of or involved in a dispute about who is entitled, or is the appropriate party, to take out the Grant of Letters of Administration.

When is it not appropriate to issue a caveat? It is not a good idea to lodge a caveat where the caveator wishes to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This is because a claim under this Act can only be brought once the grant of representation has been taken out. This is a common error made. However, it can be an inexpensive way to block estates.

What is the procedure for issuing a caveat? A caveat can be lodged at any Probate Registry; this does not need to be at the probate registry local to the deceased. The Probate Registry will need: The deceased’s name, date of death and address; The name and address of the caveator; The request for the caveat to be signed by the caveator or their solicitor; A fee of £20 The caveat is then valid for six months. It can be renewed at the end of this period on payment of a further fee.

How can the caveat be removed? The caveator can remove the caveat at any time by writing to the Probate Registry. Given this a legal letter may be a good idea informing the individual that it is an abuse of proceedings to issue a Caveat inappropriately (see Parnall v Hurst [2003] WTLR 997.) 4 Any interested person may therefore issue a “warning” to the caveator.