If you do decide that you want to dispute a will, on the basis that you think the Will may not be valid, the first step is to enter at a Probate Registry what is called a Caveat.
A Caveat is a notice in writing that no grant of probate (the document confirming the legal authority given to an executor of a deceased’s Will to act in the administration of the deceased person’s estate) should be sealed in the estate of the deceased without notice to the person who has entered the Caveat.
So essentially, it puts a stop on the estate being administered and gives you time to investigate and pursue your claim knowing that no steps are being taken in relation to the estate and that therefore the assets are protected.
A Caveat is a simple form which can be obtained from any Probate Registry in England and Wales. To complete the Caveat form, you need details of the deceased’s full name, last address and date of death.
Once completed, the form needs to be returned to the Probate Registry with a fee of £20. A Caveat stays in place for six months and if no steps are taken within that six months to remove it, it can be renewed for a further six months at a further cost of £20.
It is important that a Caveat is only entered in appropriate circumstances, i.e. where you wish to contest the validity of a Will and if it is entered for any other purpose there may be potential cost consequences. It is not appropriate to put a caveat in place when dealing with claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.