Caveats

Stopping an improper application for a grant

If someone who claims an interest in an estate anticipates that an application will be made to probate registry for a grant which for one reason or another should not be issued and he or she wishes to make his or her views known to the registry, they can give a notice to the registry that they wish to be heard before a grant is issued.

The notice, which is called a caveat, must be in written form and signed by the person giving it. Unless extended, a caveat lasts for six months (excluding the day upon which the probate registry receives it).

While the caveat is in force, no grant of representation other than the one limited to the following can be issued:

the administration of an estate until the conclusion of litigation currently taking place in the Chancery Division of the High Court in relation to the estate

the preservation of an estate which will be endangered by delay in administering it

A caveat continues in force until:

The person who requested it withdraws it or fails to respond when warned that a grant is about to be issued

A court orders that it shall be cancelled

Its life expires

If an application for a grant is made when a caveat is in force, the application for the grant is stopped and at the applicant’s request the registry will notify the person who lodged the caveat of the application.

What follows is a complex series of procedures to determine whether or not the grant shall be issued and is not layman’s territory.

There are many reasons why an application for a grant may be improper, for example, there might be a conflict between the applicant’s interests and those of the beneficiaries, the will might be a forgery, made under duress, without legal capacity or it might not be the most recent one.

Regardless, if you or someone you know has an interest in an estate and believe that an improper application process was followed, send a caveat to a probate registry so that you can make your views known before it is too late.