When a family member dies, it is a difficult and emotionally draining process. What can make matters worse are the inheritance and probate disputes that may arise.
To claim a deceased person’s estate, the executors and administrators need to distribute the contents of the will in accordance with the deceased’s wishes. To do this, you need a legal document known as a grant of probate.
If you do not agree with any part of the process, such as the contents or distribution of the will, you can prevent a grant of probate from being issued by entering what is known as a ‘caveat.’ Probate disputes such as these can be extremely difficult and can make the pain of losing a loved one even worse. Luckily, there are ways in which probate dispute lawyers and solicitors can make the process a lot smoother.
Here at Van Eaton solicitors, we can assist you with any will disputes that you may have and can provide the most effective legal advice, to get you the result you need as efficiently as possible. We understand how difficult the process of probate and the administration of an estate can be, so we always aim to deal with every case as sympathetically and carefully as possible.
Am I Eligible For a Probate Application?
To stop a probate application going through, there are certain criteria you must meet in order to be successful. As well as having ‘reasonable grounds’ to lodge a caveat, you must also follow a range of different rules when considering challenging a probate application.
You must be at least 18 years of age to lodge a caveat, and you can either do this yourself, through a solicitor, or through someone else who is licensed to deal with probate. You can either apply online or fill in a PA8A form. You must also either be an executor in the will or an interested party. Once you have lodged a caveat, it lasts for six months, and probate can be granted once it has expired.
What Reasons Do I Need?
To stop a grant of probate being issued, you need to lodge what is known as a caveat. Once this is in place, the assets of the deceased’s estate cannot be distributed. However, you can only lodge a caveat if you have a genuine reason for wanting to prevent the distribution, and you wish to challenge the validity of the will. Poor reasons such as disliking the contents of the will, are not strong enough. You must have a genuine reason, such as you believe the deceased was under undue influence to make the will or did not have the mental capacity to understand what they were doing.
You may also lodge a caveat if you do not believe the deceased’s last will was, in fact, their last, if you believe it is invalid or if you believe the deceased was pressured or coerced. You may also be able to bring in certain law and legal requirements into your argument. For instance, if you have been excluded from a will and it has left you financially struggling, you may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. You can make this claim if you were a spouse or civil partner of the deceased, their child or were considered a child, or if you shared their house. You can read more in our separate article here.
If you believe you have been excluded from a will or have reasons such as those detailed above, you can lodge a caveat, but thereafter would likely require legal representation.
Here at Van Eaton solicitors, we aim to settle probate disputes between opposing sides through negotiations/mediation and can provide you with the best legal advice on how to proceed.
Forms and Cost
To lodge a caveat and stop probate, you can either apply online or fill out a PA8A form that you can send through the post. You’ll need to state the name, date of death and last address of the deceased, and you must live in either England or Wales.
It costs £3 to lodge a caveat, and if you apply by post, you need to pay by sending a cheque to the relevant address. You’ll also need to pay again once the first six months are up and you want to lodge a caveat again. More details can be found on the Government’s website here. If you decide to seek legal advice, your solicitor may be able to lodge the caveat for you.
Here at Van Eaton solicitors, we can assist you throughout your case, and will advise on the most appropriate course of action. Our team have years of experience dealing with probate disputes, so can offer you the most professional and thorough service, ensuring that you get the result you need as efficiently as possible. If you would like to book a consultation, or you require more information, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form.
For more information probate disputes, visit Van Eaton Solicitors, Streatham