Entering a warning: a guide to the legal issues
If you are the Executor or Administrator of an estate and a caveat has been entered it will prevent you from obtaining probate. You can read our article on caveats here. Although a caveat only lasts 6 months, they can be renewed, so there is potential for the caveat to obstruct the administration of the estate in the long term. So what can you do if someone enters a caveat in an estate you are dealing with?
One way of dealing with a caveat is to establish a dialogue with the person who has entered it. They will be someone with an interest in the estate and if they haven’t already contacted you about their concerns then you should establish what those concerns are and consider whether they can be satisfactorily addressed. Another option is to wait 6 months to see if the caveat is renewed.
If you find that matters cannot be resolved (or you feel that the caveat process itself is being abused) then you have the option of entering a warning with a view to having the caveat removed.
Entering a warning is relatively straightforward. The person entering a warning must state their interest in the estate e.g. as the executor or administrator. No court fee is payable. The Probate Registry will issue (stamp) the warning and return it so that it can be sent to the person who has lodged the Caveat.
Once the warning has been served on the person who has lodged the caveat they have just 14 days to respond by entering an appearance or issuing a Summons Application if they want the caveat to remain in force.
If they fail to respond by the deadline then you can file an affidavit (sworn statement) with the Probate Registry which will cause the caveat to cease to have effect. Once the caveat has been removed you can apply for probate and proceed with the administration of the estate.
If they do enter an appearance then the caveat will become permanent and will remain in place until the dispute has either been resolved and the court orders its removal. For this reason, it is usually worthwhile to try to resolve the dispute before using the warning procedure.
We are experienced contentious probate solicitors dealing with cases nationwide. We can assist with entering a warning and are able to provide this service on a fixed fee basis. Call us on 0808 139 1606 for a free initial chat or email us at [email protected]