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When, Why and How do you stop a Grant of Probate being issued?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

When somebody dies, a representative takes out a ‘Grant of Representation’ (often a Grant of Probate) which gives them authority to deal with all of the deceased person’s assets and liabilities.

They can use the Grant to access the deceased’s bank accounts, sell their property and pay their bills amongst many other things.

Once a Grant has been issued it is not easy to have it revoked, neither is it easy to undo many of the actions that the holder may go on to wrongly take.

So what can you do if you have serious concerns about a Grant being issued? There may be an invalid Will being followed, there may be a Will that is being ignored, or there may be an untrustworthy person attempting to administer the Estate.

The answer to your concerns may be to enter a Caveat.

The government’s Probate Registries are responsible for issuing Grants, if you enter a Caveat with one of them it acts as an alert to all of the other registries not to issue a Grant until the Caveat has been removed. This gives you time to take legal advice if you have not already, and time to prepare your case before any real damage can be done to the Estate.

Reasons why you might enter a Caveat

 It is important that you have a valid reason to enter a Caveat. Three of the main reasons for entering a Caveat include:-

  • If the deceased has left a Will that you believe is not valid.

Perhaps they made the Will under significant pressure from a controlling relative, maybe they lacked the capacity to understand what they were doing or perhaps the Will has been forged.

There are many reasons why a Will may be invalid and to mount that challenge the first step should be to enter a Caveat.

  • If you believe that the deceased made a valid Will, but others are claiming they did not.

If someone dies without a Will they are known to have died ‘intestate’. Intestacy follows a prescribed set of rules as to who inherits from the estate and who can take out a Grant.

If you believe a valid Will exists it will almost certainly have different instructions to the intestacy rules. It is therefore important to enter a Caveat to prevent the intestacy path being taken

  • If you are concerned about a certain person taking out the Grant

If you suspect foul play or incompetence will arise if a Grant is issued to a specific person, a Caveat can put a halt on them receiving it.

When NOT to enter a Caveat

 It is not appropriate to enter a Caveat if you are owed money by the Estate or if you are making a claim for reasonable provision from the Estate. The representative needs the Grant so that they can access the money to pay you in both of these cases. These claims should be made through other avenues.

How to enter a Caveat

The government has a quick guide on how to enter a Caveat here on their website

It costs £3 and the Caveat lasts for 6 months before it must be renewed. It can be renewed indefinitely. Caveats can be challenged before the end of the 6 month period, and then the person who entered the Caveat will have the option to appeal that challenge. After that the nature of your dispute will dictate the next steps.

If you are thinking about entering a Caveat, have entered one already or are facing issues gaining a Grant because somebody else has put a Caveat in place – please do get in touch with us and our experts will be happy to help.

George Iles

Posted:

George Iles

Trainee Solicitor

George is a Trainee Solicitor currently working with the Commercial Property team.