Can I stop probate?
- AuthorPhilippa Rowley
Caveats, warnings and appearances
Following a death, either the executors (as appointed by the will), or the family member entitled to be appointed under the intestacy rules (where there is no will), is under a duty to administer the estate.
The personal representatives should efficiently gather in the deceased’s assets, pay debts and distribute the remainder to the appropriate beneficiaries. However, in some cases, this might not happen.
In some instances, there might be concern that assets are not being handled correctly, or even being squandered by the executors. If there is such a suspicion, action should be taken.
In these instances, a caveat can be issued at the Probate Registry which will prevent a grant of probate being issued.
The majority of estates will require a grant of probate to be obtained in order to prove that the executors or administrators have the authority to deal with the estate assets. For example when withdrawing money from bank accounts or putting the deceased’s property on the market.
Caveats are a useful tool for protecting the deceased’s assets whilst issues are resolved, or a potential claim against the estate is explored. For example discussions can be had in relation to the capacity of the deceased or any suspicions of undue influence.
It is possible for you to enter a caveat at the appropriate District Probate Registry or our specialist solicitors can do this for you.
If you are attempting to administer an estate which is subject to a caveat, there is a process to attempt to remove it. The warning off procedure involves the service of a warning on the caveator who can then either allow the caveat to be removed or defend it by entering an appearance.
Strict time limits apply during this warning off procedure and it is possible that you could be ordered to pay the other side’s costs as a result.
It is therefore highly recommended that you seek legal advice before becoming involved in the removal of a caveat and our lawyers can provide you with expert assistance.