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Published On: November 16, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

Caveats – When and How

A valid caveat stops any application for a grant of probate, other than by the person who lodged it (the caveator). Anyone who wants to override a caveat must get the caveator’s agreement or undertake the procedure below.

When a caveat should be considered

A caveat is often used as a delaying tactic to enable the caveator to enquire as to whether there are grounds to oppose a Will, or to investigate some wrongdoing. It should be entered as soon as possible before an application for probate is received.

Examples of when caveats may be used include:

  • Where there is some allegation concerning the validity of a Will, i.e. that the deceased was not of sound mind, or put under undue influence.
  • If there is a dispute as to the existence of a Will, or whether a Will was properly signed or witnessed.
  • If there is a dispute between two or more people equally entitled to apply for probate.
  • There is concern that someone who might apply for probate would do something unlawful.

How to enter a caveat

Anyone can enter a caveat. Caveats can be entered personally or through a solicitor. A caveat can be entered online via MyHMCTS, by posting a PA8A form to the Probate Registry or by booking a face to face appointment at a Probate Registry.

The request for a caveat must:

  • Include the applicants name and address.
  • Be signed, asking for the caveat to be entered.
  • Include the full name and date of death of the deceased, as recorded in the register of deaths. It is important that the information is the same as the death certificate to minimise the risk of the caveat not being effective.
  • Include the last permanent address of the deceased.

If applying by post, the PA8A must be sent to HMCTS Probate in Harlow.

The HM Courts & Tribunals Service advise that the easiest and quickest way to enter a caveat is online, via MyHMCTS.

The cost of applying for a caveat via any of the above methods is £3. Postal applications must enclose a cheque for £3.

A caveat should be entered as soon as possible, there is no point waiting until somebody has made an application for a grant of probate.

Once the caveat is entered

The caveat lasts six months from the date it is entered; but can be extended for a further 6 months by completing a PA8B form.  An extension will cost £3. Caveats can also be removed at any time by writing to the registry, provided that you have not entered an appearance.

Once the person applying for probate is informed about the caveat they will be given the details of the caveator so they can get in contact.

Hopefully any differences can be resolved, but if not it is recommended both parties seek legal advice. Legal advice should certainly be taken after a formal response (known as a Warning). The caveator must respond to the Warning by entering an Appearance within 14 days or the caveat will not be effective (see our blog on entering an appearance).

Kimberley McGhie and myself are also going to be presenting a in-person seminar, for professionals, on this topic taking place 24th November 2022.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

David Wedgwood

Head of Civil Litigation Joint Head of Court of Protection

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