Entering an appearance after a warning has been served
You may wish to consider entering an appearance after a warning has been served in a probate dispute if you want your caveat to remain in force. This is a brief guide to the legal process. We have prepared separate guides on entering a caveat and entering a warning, which contain helpful background information.
When a warning is sent to you, you have just 14 days to enter an ‘appearance to warning’ (generally referred to simply as an appearance). If this is done correctly then the caveat will be “sealed” by the Probate Registry, which makes it permanent. If an appearance is not entered (or it is not done correctly), then after 14 days the person who entered the warning is free to apply to the Probate Registry for the caveat to be removed.
Entering an appearance can be done by using a form that is available from the Probate Registry. You will need to explain your interest in the estate and justify why your caveat should remain in place. The Probate Registry can require specific wording, so although you are free to do this yourself, many people in this position fee it prudent to obtain specialist legal advice, especially when the stakes are high. Entering an appearance will cause the caveat to become permanent and it will then remain in force until the dispute is resolved.
Once the appearance has been sealed by the Probate Registry it must be served on the person who lodged the warning. In some circumstances, entering an appearance can result in a liability to pay another party’s legal costs, so this is not a step to be taken lightly. It is also another reason why it is sensible to consider obtaining professional advice from solicitors before you go ahead.
Once entered, an appearance can only be removed by court order, though this can be by consent. For this reason it is sensible to open a dialogue with your opponent. Explain why you entered the caveat and what resolution you are seeking. It is rarely ever a good idea to enter an appearance without explaining to your opponent why you have taken that action, as this may result in further action being taken against you to remove the caveat and increase the risk of you being ordered to pay legal costs.
We can assist with entering an appearance 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]