A probate caveat is a document that can be filed in the Court, which indicates there may be a challenge to the validity of the Will.
Once the probate caveat is filed, the executor or administrator of the estate is prevented from taking any steps in relation to the Will or the estate.
Filing a probate caveat should not be treated lightly. If a probate caveat is filed for the wrong reason, there could be severe cost implications for the person filing it.
Having said that, there are certainly situations which warrant the filing of a probate caveat.
When should filing a probate caveat be considered?
Some of the circumstances which would warrant the filing of a probate caveat, are as follows:
- Where it is believed that the last Will of the deceased was signed when the deceased did not have capacity.
- Where it is believed that the deceased may have signed their Will without knowing and approving the contents of their Will. In this case there is normally suspicious circumstances which surround the preparation and signing of the Will. Circumstances that may be considered suspicious include if the deceased has an unexplained change of wishes or if they are disinheriting a beneficiary for no particular reason.
- Where there may be evidence of fraud in relation to the Will.
- Where there may be evidence of the deceased having signed their Will being unduly influenced.
What happens once a probate caveat has been filed?
Once a probate caveat has been filed, you will have time to obtain evidence and seek legal advice. Having said that, it is important to start your enquiries promptly.
What further information should be obtained once the probate caveat is in place:
- Steps should be taken to obtain the medical records of the deceased.
- A request should be made for the file of the solicitor who prepared the Will.
- Any previous Wills of the deceased should be obtained.
Probate caveats – what should you do next?
Filing a probate caveat can be a challenging and daunting process. If you are in circumstances where you believe a probate caveat may need to be lodged, please do not hesitate to contact us.