What is a caveat?

In this short article we address the frequently asked question, ‘What is a caveat’ in relation to an inheritance dispute?

You will see lots of references on this website to caveats. There are articles on how to enter a caveat, and how to remove a caveat,  but what actually is a caveat in the context of an inheritance dispute?

In an inheritance dispute, a caveat is a legal instrument that is used to prevent the distribution of an estate or to delay a grant of probate being obtained.

When someone believes they have a valid claim to a share of an estate or property but are concerned that the Will is. invalid or the executor or administrator of the estate may distribute the assets before their claim is resolved, they can lodge a caveat with the probate registry or court. This essentially notifies the authorities that there is a dispute or potential claim regarding the estate, and prevents a grant of probate from being issued. It means that the personal representatives will be unable to conclude the administration of an estate and undertake distributions while it remains in place.

The caveat will remain valid for six months, after which time it can be extended. This allows the person who lodged it, known as the caveator, time to resolve the dispute or initiate legal proceedings.

If a caveator fails to pursue their case or if it is considered that their case has no legal foundation, then steps can be taken to remove the caveat in order to allow the estate administration to proceed. This can be done by issuing a ‘warning’. The caveator then has the option to respond by entering an ‘appearance’. You can read more about caveats, warnings and appearances HERE.

If you need expert legal guidance on applying for or removing a caveat then our specialist team is here to help.

Call 0333 888 0407, use this form to request a free consultation, or simply send us an email.

What is a caveat?