When someone has passed away, in order to obtain the legal authority to wind up and distribute the estate, an application needs to be made to the Probate Registry to obtain a Grant of Probate.
This gives the Executor the legal authority to deal with everything after someone has died including paying any outstanding bills, collecting in the assets and distributing them to the beneficiaries named within the Will.
Sometimes, there may be a dispute or concerns over the Will in which case you may wish to stop the Grant of Probate until the disagreement has been dealt with before the estate is administered.
Reasons for concern may include aspects such as;
• The Will could be invalid i.e. the deceased got married after making the Will
• The Will has not been properly signed or witnessed
• You don’t think the executor seeking to act is fit to deal with the estate
• You have concerns the Will may have been tampered with or forged
• You believe the person who died may have been unduly influenced by someone to make the Will
• There is a more recent Will in existence
By lodging a caveat with the Probate Registry, a Grant of Probate can be prevented for 6 months. Once the caveat has been lodged, the Probate Registry will let you know if the executors apply for a Grant in order that you can raise an objection.
The person lodging the caveat must provide reasoning as to why they wish to prevent the Grant of Probate from being issued. If they fail to provide such reasoning then the executor can request that the Probate Registry issues the Grant of Probate.
It’s always recommended that an agreement is reached with the Executor before lodging a caveat and you must be certain you have a valid reason for entering one.
If you’d like further advice and guidance regarding the Probate and Estate Administration process, please get in touch.