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How Do I Challenge a Will?

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How Do I Challenge a Will?

Challenging a Will is occasionally something that people are forced to consider, for one reason or another. This can be problematic, especially where you have not been appointed as an Executor of the estate, as you may not wish for those appointed to apply for a Grant of Probate (which would enable them to start to administer the estate) until you have had opportunity to consider your challenge or the validity of the Will in question.

A useful mechanism for preventing this scenario, and the estate being distributed from under you or without your knowledge, is to file a ‘Caveat’ with the District Probate Registry. A Caveat essentially acts as a bar to a Grant of Probate and prevents anybody from obtaining the same until the Caveat is removed (by you) or the Court order it to be so.

A Caveat remains in place for a period of 6 months, and can continue to be renewed in 6 month increments (on payment of a fee). This will allow you to speak with our expert Probate/Litigation teams and explore any potential claim that you might have.

It should not be used to prevent a limitation date, and you should be aware of the risk of others interested in the estate filing a ‘Warning’ to your caveat, which essentially would put you to proof on your interest in the estate. You would then have 8 days from the date of service of the warning upon you to ‘appear’ to the Warning, which is a term used to describe the presentation of your claim.

If you have already lodged a Caveat, and have received a Warning, but you do not know how to deal with it, it is imperative that you contact us without delay. This is because of the risk that if you don’t ‘appear’ to the warning of the caveat, it can be removed automatically and the other party can proceed to apply for Probate.

However, if you do ‘appear’ to the warning, the caveat will remain in place until such time as both parties reach agreement regarding your claim or the other party issue Court proceedings to force its removal.

The process has other complexities to it, but our Litigation team can assist you throughout and provide expert advice on the merits of your claim and can prepare and lodge the Caveat, warning or appearance for you.

You need to bear in mind the costs risks when engaging in this process, so it is important to retain specialist solicitors who can assist you through the process. If you do wish to consider this further, please contact us on 01942 246 241.