Anyone who objects to a Grant being sealed can enter a caveat. Caveats is entered by filling in a simple form and lodging it with a £20 fee at any Probate Registry. Once entered, the caveat will remain in force for six months. Before expiry of that period and upon payment of another fee, it may be extended for a further period of six months. It may be extended an innumerable number of times.
Caveat may be withdrawn at any time, simply by contacting the Probate Registry and requesting its withdrawal.
Anyone entering a caveat should also be aware that they are open to challenge. A person applying for a Grant will be informed of the caveat and as noted above, will be able to apply for a Grant only once the caveat is removed.
If the proposed executor or administrator wishes to challenge the caveat, they will need to enter a warning. The warning is served on the person who registered the caveat and unless the person enters an appearance in reply to the warning, the caveat will be removed. If appearance is made, the caveat remains in place . After that the only way for caveat to be removed is for both parties to consent to such removal or for court proceedings to be issued and an order for removal of the caveat to be granted.
Caveats are easy to use and commonly used. They should not however be misused. Caveats should be used to answer concerns about wills or concerns about a person’s ability to administer the estate. Court is able to make costs orders against a party who misuses a caveat, e.g. enters it in order to buy time before bringing an Inheritance Act claim.