What Happens When A Probate Is Contested?

Contentious probate refers to any dispute relating to the administration of someone’s estate when they die, whether it involves a dispute over the value of assets, the interpretation of a will, or dealing with difficult executors.

If you are an executor or a beneficiary involved in a contentious probate dispute, you may need to act fast to protect the estate.

What is a caveat?

In some cases, a solicitor will enter a caveat to prevent a Grant of Probate from being taken out. Caveats are often used to create time to work out whether or not there are grounds to oppose someone’s application for Probate or bring estate matters before the Court.

Examples of this would be a dispute between two or more people being equally entitled to apply for probate, or an allegation concerning the will itself.

There are several grounds for contesting a will. These include;

  • undue influence
  • lack of testamentary capacity
  • forgery

Defending claims made against an estate

Hearing that someone is making a claim against the estate of your loved one is going to leave you feeling anxious at an already distressing time.

Whether you are an appointed executor or beneficiary, a solicitor will be able to defend your claim against an estate and protect its value, as well as provide you with clear, impartial advice.

How to remove a caveat

In order to remove a caveat, you will have to issue a warning. This requires the caveator to formally state their interest in the estate of the deceased, known as an ‘appearance’. Unless an appearance is issued with 8 days, the caveat will be removed.

Once an appearance is entered, the caveat can only be removed with the consent of the Court and will remain in force indefinitely until the dispute is resolved.

When finding out that a caveat has been issued preventing probate and delaying the estate administration, the starting point is always to seek legal advice from a solicitor before a warning or an appearance is entered.

Whatever the dispute, solicitors can advise families quickly and cost-effectively to ensure that it gets resolved as soon as possible, enabling the probate process to be started.

If you require any advice regarding probate, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced probate solicitors in Bristol on 0117 9733989 or fill out a contact form.


This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

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