After the death of a loved one, the probate process and the distribution of their estate should be a smooth, pain-free process, but this is not always the case. Disputes and disagreements may arise between executors, beneficiaries, and other parties, often regarding the content of the will or the distribution of its contents. To distribute the will, a probate application needs to be made by the executors or the closest living relative (depending on whether a will was made or not). This process can be stopped by entering a caveat if you wish to contest probate or the will.
If you wish to stop a probate application you need to build an arguable case against the estate, or you may wish to defend a claim against you as an executor/beneficiary, and there are contentious probate solicitors who can help in such circumstances. Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham Hill, we have experience in settling inheritance disputes between feuding parties, keeping claims out of court wherever possible. By providing expert legal advice and alternative dispute resolution, we can help our clients find a solution they are content with, helping them bring a claim or defend against one.
Contentious probate matters arise for several reasons, but to stop the process, a caveat must be entered.
Why Would Someone Want to Stop a Probate Application?
Once an application for a grant of probate has been approved, the executors of a will or the closest living relatives to the deceased (if there is no will) can begin distributing the estate accordingly. Someone may wish to stop this application if they have any concerns that a will is invalid. For instance, if they believe the will was made under undue influence, it is fraudulent, or the deceased was no of sound mind when they created and signed the document. Certain relatives or those financially dependent on the deceased during their life may also make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. You can read more about making a claim of invalidity in our previous article here.
A caveat can also be entered if the person applying for the grant may not be entitled to do so. If the deceased did not leave a will, there are steps that parties can take to stop the next of kin obtaining a grant of probate, but it is recommended that you seek expert legal advice to discuss your case first. Contentious probate disputes can be difficult to navigate and can take their toll, but there are qualified inheritance solicitors who can help you settle your claim effectively. To find out more about our probate services, please visit us here.
How to Enter a Caveat
Anyone can enter a caveat, whether they take on the task themselves or a solicitor does it on their behalf. However, the person lodging the caveat must be over the age of 18. A PA8A form must be completed and sent to the Probate Registry by post; the form can be found on the Government’s website here. The form can also be given in person. It costs £3 to enter a caveat, and it lasts for six months.
The caveat should include, in writing, a request for the caveat to be entered, the applicant’s name and address, and the full name, date of death and last permanent address of the deceased.
You can either file the caveat yourself, or you can request the help of a qualified solicitor. Here at Van Eaton Solicitors, we can help you contest probate and build your case from the moment you make the decision to enter a caveat, implementing expert knowledge to gather the necessary evidence to make a claim.
After Filing a Caveat
A caveat lasts six months from the date it is entered. This deadline can be extended for an extra six months for a fee of an extra £3. You can also remove a caveat at any point by writing to the Registry. When anyone applies for a grant of probate, they will be informed that a caveat is already in place. They will also be given the details of the party who lodge the caveat to make contact. Once the caveat is lodged, the party who entered it can begin to build their case and collect the necessary evidence.
Most contentious probate claims can be settled between the two parties out of court. If not, our solicitors can accompany you to all hearings and meetings, providing you with expert representation to help settle your case effectively. If you would like to find out more about how to contest probate, or to book a free consultation, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form here.