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Searches and Caveats

Initial Steps to be considered

If you believe that you may have a claim against an Estate and you are unable to easily find out any details as to who is dealing with the Estate then you should consider the following:

http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/civil/probate/registries.htm

What information is required?

Full name of the deceased, date of birth, last permanent address and date of death. This information is easily identifiable from a death certificate and usually the information provided to register the death will be the same information provided to the Probate Registry. An application can be made to the Probate Registry either in writing or in person. There is a fee of £5.00 payable to HMCS. You can apply in writing to the Probate Registry or in person.

What information will be provided by the Probate Registry?
If a Grant of Representation has been taken out the Probate Registry will supply you with a copy of the Grant of Representation together with a copy of a Will if applicable.

Standing Search

If a General Search has failed to provide any information a Standing Search remains in force for six months and the Probate Registry continuously checks their records for a six month period. If a Grant of Representation is issued during the six month period the Probate Registry will send you a copy of the Grant and any Will enabling you to liaise with any Executors or Personal Representatives.

What information is required?

Full name of the deceased, date of birth, last permanent address and date of death. This information is easily identifiable from a death certificate and usually the information provided to register the death will be the same information provided to the Probate Registry. There is a fee of £5.00 payable to HMCS. You can apply in writing to the Probate Registry or in person.

Can I renew my application?

Yes. You can continually renew your Application to the Probate Registry. A letter should be sufficient. A further £5.00 will be payable for each renewal.

Caveats

A Caveat prevents a Grant of Representation from being issued by the Probate Registry. There are only a number of circumstances when this procedure should be used and the following examples are not intended to be an exhaustive list. If you believe that you have a dispute we would suggest that you consider taking legal advice as soon as possible.

Examples of when a caveat may be used:

  • If you suspect that the Will being sent to the Probate Registry
  • is not the last Will of the Deceased.
  • If you believe that the deceased did not have capacity when
  • the Will was made.
  • The Will has not been properly signed or witnessed.
  • There is a dispute that a Will exists (Intestacy).
  • There is a dispute as to who should apply for probate.

How to I request a Caveat?

A written request is sent to the Probate Registry. Full name of the deceased, date of birth, last permanent address and date of death. This information is easily identifiable from a death certificate and usually the information provided to register the death will be the same information provided to the Probate Registry. There is a fee of £15.00 payable to HMCS. The Caveat lasts for a six month period and prevents the Registry from issuing a Grant of Representation. You can renew a Caveat application in the month before expiry to ensure that you are afforded as much protection.

What happens if a request for a Grant is received by the Probate Registry?

The person applying for the Grant of Representation will be contacted by the Probate Registry and advised that there is a Caveat preventing the issue of a Grant of Representation. This may then force the persons dealing with the estate to take steps to "warn off" the caveat. This will require you to state your interest in the Estate by putting in an "Appearance". There are strict time limits and the caveat can be removed by the probate registry if you fail to take any steps. If you enter an appearance the caveat will remain in force indefinitely until matters are finally resolved.

What happens next?

The Probate Registry will expect the Parties to take steps to resolve any dispute. You or the person applying for a Grant of Representation may issue a summons which will be heard by the District Probate Registry. The alternative is that you or the person applying for a Grant of Representation may commence a Probate Action.

If you are considering entering a Caveat we would suggest that you take Legal Advice as to whether or not you have a Claim against the Estate. There are cost consequences with regards to any formal proceedings which you will need to consider carefully before entering into any dispute.

Useful addresses:

London Probate Department
PRFD, First Avenue House
42 – 49 High Holborn
7th Floor
London
WC1V 6NP

Tel: 020 7947 6939

Maidstone Probate Registry
The Law Courts
Barker Road
Maidstone
Kent
ME16 8EQ

Tel: 01622 202 048

Brighton District Probate Registry
William Street
Brighton
East Sussex
BN2 0RF

Tel: 01273 573 510

Websites

http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/civil/probate/aboutus.htm

For further advice and help please do contact Dispute A Will 0800 9752166 or email vie the contact page

Call Us Free On 0800 975 2166