Problem Probate FAQ
6 February 2024 by Gregory John
Last year the Dispute Resolution team and I ran a number of drop-in clinics from our Braintree office, seeking to assist those that had questions that have arisen from the more “challenging” probates or family dynamic.
I had previously prepared a blog addressing some of the more regular questions we had from those clinics and I thought that, as we close out the year, it was worthwhile to address a few more of the most commonly asked questions below.
It is possible to stop a Grant of Probate from being issued?
Potentially yes. If you believe you have a justified reason, it is possible to try and prevent a Grant of Probate from being issued. This is done by lodging something called a ‘caveat’ with the Probate Registry against the estate of the deceased.
If you wish to do this, you look to do so promptly and, ideally, before an application for the Grant has been made to prevent the Grant of Probate from going ahead.
What is a ‘Caveat’?
In this context, a ‘caveat’ is, in effect, a formal dispute lodged with the Probate Registry that seeks to prevent a Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) from being issued by the Probate Registry.
You should only seek to lodge a caveat with the Probate Registry if you believe you have a genuine and viable dispute and legal advice should be considered to ensure that it is not misused.
Once issued. It will initially remain in place for a period of six months and can be renewed.
Is there a time limit in which a claim must be made?
This will depend largely on the type of claim you intend to make. In my experience, most claims are made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, and these must be filed within six months, subject to certain exceptions.
Whatever claim you are seeking to make, I would always recommend that you bring it as soon as possible to ensure that any unforeseen circumstances do not cause you to fall fowl of the time limits.
Will I need to attend Court?
Hopefully not. In my experience, most simple probate disputes can be settled without the courts involvement and there are a number of alternative dispute resolution options that can be used to try and keep a matter out of Court.
Do so might negate both the costs and complexities associated with the contentious probate disputes.
How long could a claim last?
Due to the unpredictable nature of probate disputes, it is impossible to give even a rough estimate. Contentious Probates are unique and subject to several factors that could affect their time frame.
Although we hope the above might be helpful, it does not constitute legal advice and if you do find yourself in any of the above situations, we would recommend that seek formal advice.
We might not be running this clinic at the moment, but that does not mean that you might wish to bring a claim; might be on the other end of a claim; or you wish to take advice to try and mitigate a dispute with your own estate planning.
If you would like to arrange an appointment to assist with whatever “Problem Probate” you are dealing with, or might be worried your loved ones could be dealing with, please do not hesitate to contact myself or the team on 01206 835261, or email us at [email protected].