When there is a dispute as to the validity of a will or as to who should apply for a Grant, a person may lodge a caveat at the Probate Registry. As explained in our earlier article, caveat stops anyone from applying for a Grant.
A caveat is entered for 6 months. It may, however, be extended an innumerable number of times. A person wishing to apply for a Grant may choose to wait out the 6 months period in the hope that the person who entered the caveat (the caveator) will fail to extend their caveat and they will be able to apply for a Grant then. Otherwise, when the reasons for entering the caveat are believed to be unreasonable or unjustified, the proposed executor or administrator may challenge the caveat by issuing a warning.
The warning is another form on which the person issuing it must state their interest in the estate. The warning is served on the caveator. No fee is required, but the issue of costs must be kept in mind. The person issuing the warning must bear in mind there may be legal complexities that arise in doing so. There is also the risk of being ordered to pay the caveator’s legal costs if a dispute follows the warning and is lost by the person who issued it.
Once the warning has been served, the caveator has only eight days to file a response. If no response is filed, the caveat ceases to have an effect and a Grant may be issued.
The caveator who decides to respond may do so by withdrawing the caveat or contesting the warning. The latter is done by entering an appearance. The appearance is not a physical appearance, but the submission of a legal document to the Probate Registry. Once the appearance is entered, it remains in force until the dispute is resolved. The dispute may be resolved by parties reaching an agreement or seeking a resolution from the court.
To read more on the procedures of entering a caveat or appearance please see our related blogs.