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Caveats - a practical guide

View profile for Victoria Wall
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One of the first pieces of advice we tend to provide when we have an initial enquiry either contesting the validity of a Will, looking to claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 or have concerns over an executor is to enter a caveat on the estate if probate has not yet been granted. This can be done quickly and easily online to allow you to seek the professional advice you need.

This simple guide to caveats will explain what caveats are and why you might want to use one. We will also outline the benefits of entering a caveat and when you need to look for professional advice.

What is a caveat?

A caveat is a form which can be completed on the government website.

Why would I enter a caveat?

The purpose of a caveat is to stop any grants of probate or administration from being issued. This is because a person might feel that the personal representatives looking to apply for probate either have an invalid Will or are not performing their duties correctly. Without a grant of probate (or administration), the personal representatives cannot distribute the estate.

What is the process?

A caveat can be entered via the government website, or by post. The cost of entering a caveat is £3 and will last for 6 months if the caveat is not challenged. You can continue to enter caveats indefinitely.

The caveat can be challenged?

Yes, any personal representative can challenge a caveat on the basis that they do not believe you have a sufficient reason to enter it. They will enter what is called a warning on your caveat. You will then need to consider whether you wish to defend your caveat or allow it to lapse.

How do I defend my caveat?

You will receive the warning from the personal representative and you will have 14 days to issue what is called an appearance. If you successfully enter an appearance, the caveat becomes permanent and will need to be removed by a court order.

When should I look for professional advice?

We can assist you in placing a caveat on the estate, but you should seek advice on your claim as soon as possible after entering the caveat. This is because it may not be long before your caveat is challenged, and it is important to have an idea of whether you should pursue your claim and how to move forward with your claim.

Our contentious probate team specialises in all aspects of contentious probate and is consistently ranked in the top tier of The Legal 500. The team is headed up by Robert Weston, who is listed in The Legal 500 as a “leading individual” and was the instructing solicitor for the successful party in the landmark judgment of Walker v Badmin.  Robert, together with Suzanne Lee and Andrew Chandler are all full members of The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) and represent clients both nationwide and abroad in both bringing and defending claims.

If you have a contentious probate matter which you would like to discuss with a specialist solicitor with a view to instructing mfg Solicitors LLP, please visit  for further information and contact details.