In what sort of circumstances are caveats used?
It is not possible to give a comprehensive list due to the numerous circumstances that may apply/exist. A caveat is often used to allow “breathing space” to enable the "Caveator" to make enquiries to determine whether there are grounds to oppose an application for Probate, or to bring matters in relation to the estate before the Court. A few examples are:
there is some allegation concerning a Will, for example it is not the last Will (there is evidence of a later Will), or the deceased was not of sound mind when it was made, or the deceased was coerced/forced into making the Will
there is a dispute between two or more people equally entitled to apply for Probate
there is dispute about whether a Will exists
How will I know if I should file a caveat?
Staff of the Probate Office are not able to advise you whether you should file a caveat, or what subsequent steps should be taken. The staff can tell you what procedures are available to you but they cannot advise on the appropriateness of any of these. If you are in any doubt, you should seek legal advice.
How do I enter a caveat?
In order to enter a caveat you must obtain and complete Form 2 of The Probate Rules 1988 and lodge it at the Probate & Tribunal Public Counter in the Ground Floor of Murray House, Mount Havelock, Douglas along with the appropriate fee (please see the easy reference guide to Probate Fees on the Forms page). You may do this yourself or through an Advocate.
Whilst the caveat remains in force, the information is used to prevent Probate/Administration being granted in the estate without you being informed.
Can I enter a caveat by phone or by sending a letter to the Probate Office?
No. A telephone call or letter is not recognised as a means of preventing a Grant from being made.
When should the caveat be entered?
Once you decide that you want to enter a caveat, you should do so immediately. However, if you are in any doubt you should seek legal advice as there is a possibility you may become liable to pay costs at a later date.
How long does a caveat last?
Six months from the date it is entered.
In the month before it is due to expire you, or your Advocate, may apply to extend it for a further period of six months upon payment of the requisite fee (please see the easy reference guide to Probate Fees). The application for an extension must be in writing (there is no prescribed form to complete) to the Probate Office and must quote the caveat number for which you are seeking the extension.
Is there a reminder issued towards the end of the six months?
No. If a caveat is not extended it simply expires, but if you wish you may enter another, providing of course that Probate/Administration has not been granted in the intervening period. The appropriate fee (please see the easy reference guide to Probate Fees) will have to be paid on application to enter a new caveat.
Can a caveat be withdrawn?
A caveat can be withdrawn but the procedure to follow in order to do this will vary depending on what stage the caveat has reached and a fee may be payable (please see the easy reference guide to Probate Fees). If you are unsure about the correct procedure to follow you are strongly recommended to seek legal advice.
What happens when a caveat stops an application for Probate?
The person applying for Probate is informed of your caveat and given your details.
What happens next?
It is up to yourself and the person applying for Probate to make contact with each other, hopefully to resolve any differences, and agree a way forward.
What if there is no agreement?
This is where matters become beyond the remit of the Probate Office and, if you have not already done so, you are strongly recommended to seek legal advice as a matter of priority.