Can I Stop a Grant of Probate?

Author:
John Lambe
Contentious Probate Solicitor
Date:
14/07/2020

Yes you can stop or block a Grant of Probate and there are a number of reasons why you would want to do that. This might be because there’s a dispute over who’s applying for the Grant or there is a dispute about the validity of a Will. 

Our Contentious Probate Solicitors are specialists in dealing with Will disputes and contesting Wills. If you’ve got concerns about a Will or Grant of Probate, get in touch for free initial legal advice. Ask us if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

How to Stop a Grant of Probate

You can stop a Grant of Probate by ‘entering a caveat’. This can be done online or by filling out a PA8A form. It costs £20 and is valid six months from the date it’s granted, unless it gets extended.

Entering a caveat means you’ll be notified by the Probate Registry (Court) when the Executors apply for a Grant, and you’ll get the opportunity to object to the Grant being issued.

To continue with the Grant of Probate, the Executors will need to take action to remove the caveat. If the Executors believe there’s no justified reason for blocking the Grant, they may issue you with a ‘warning’ through the Probate Registry, free of charge.

You’ll then be served a copy of the warning either in person or by post. What you do next will depend on whether you have a ‘contrary interest’. This means that you’d have potential interest in the Estate if the Will is set aside, either because you’re a beneficiary under a previous Will or because no previous Will exists.

How Long Does it Take to Stop a Grant of Probate?

If you’ve been issued a warning, you’ll have 14 days from the date the warning was served to take action. Before doing so, it’s best to get legal advice.

The person issuing the warning also has 14 days to tell the Court that they’ve done so. The time limit for taking action only expires when this witness statement has been lodged with the Court. If they’re late doing this, you’ll have a bit longer to decide what to do.

How to Respond to a Caveat Warning

If you still want to stop the Grant of Probate after a warning, you must ‘lodge an appearance’ with the Probate Registry, setting out your contrary interest in the deceased’s Estate.

If you don’t have a contrary interest, you’ll have to request a hearing with the Court who will decide if the caveat should stay in place or be removed. If it’s removed, the Grant of Probate can then be issued. Even if you don’t have a contrary interest, you might have other reasons for wanting to stop the Grant of Probate, such as wanting to apply for the Grant yourself.

You might change your mind after the warning and decide to allow the Grant to go ahead. If this is the case, you have the option to:

  • Do nothing and the caveat will be removed after 14 days
  • Withdraw the caveat (notice must be given to the person who served the warning)

Once the caveat has been withdrawn, the Executors of the Will are informed.

Sometimes, it might be an Executor of the Will who asks the Court to remove the caveat, but this’ll only happen if you’ve not already withdrawn the caveat within the legal time frame.

The Court will only remove the caveat if it’s clear that you have no contrary interest or you were delayed in investigating your concerns over the validity of the Will and your decision to challenge it.

Lodging an Appearance with the Probate Registry

It’s free to lodge an appearance with the Probate Registry. Once you’ve done this, a copy of the appearance is immediately given to the Executors. At this stage, you may want to try and reach an agreement with the Executors.

If you can’t demonstrate contrary interest in the Estate, your request for an appearance may be rejected by the Probate Registry.

Inheritance Act Claims

If you’re wanting to make an Inheritance Act Claim, it’s best to not enter a caveat. Instead, you should apply for a ‘standing search’ with the Probate Registry. A standing search costs £6 and needs to be renewed every 6 months. After you’ve applied, you’ll receive a copy of the Grant of Probate that was issued 12 months before the standing search application, or within 6 months if it’s after the application.

Speak to a Contentious Probate Solicitor

Whether you’re the one looking to block a Grant of Probate, or you’re an Executor of the Will who’s in a dispute over the Grant, we can help you. Our Contentious Probate Solicitors will offer support that’s tailored to your individual case.

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