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Understanding the significance of a Caveat in Probate

When someone dies, dealing with their affairs can be complicated and confusing at what is emotionally a very difficult time.

Only in very limited circumstances (usually a low-value estate) can the estate of someone who dies be administered without a document issued by the Court. To deal with their assets, money, property or other types of investment, a document is required to show that a person has the legal authority to deal with the deceased's estate. This document is called a Grant and is issued by a part of the Court system, The Probate Registry. If a person dies leaving a will, in most cases, it will be necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate by submitting an application to the Probate Registry. When there is no will, the document is called a Grant of Letters of Administration.

During this period, disputes can arise in relation to who is applying for probate, the validity of the will or even the existence of a will. A caveat can be used to delay the probate application and administration in order to allow time to investigate the challenge further.


You can challenge someone else’s probate application by entering a caveat if there is a dispute regarding who can apply for probate, whether a will exists or whether the will is valid.

A caveat prevents all applications for probate on the estate from being granted during that period.

A caveat lasts for 6 months however this can be extended by applying to extend the caveat by another six months.

A caveat would need to be entered before probate is granted as the application will not be stopped if probate is approved the same day as a caveat is submitted.

Once an application for a caveat is submitted, the probate application is usually stopped one working day after the application is received.

It is important to note that submitting a caveat can result in legal action and legal costs. In the first instance, you should attempt to come to an agreement with the person who is applying for probate.


You can apply for a caveat if you are over 18 and are:

  • An executor named in a will
  • An interested party
  • A probate practitioner (such as a solicitor)

The application to lodge a caveat can be done by yourself or you can instruct a solicitor to do this. The application can be completed online or via post. However, if you wish to apply to extend the caveat, these applications can only be sent via post. The application to extend a caveat can only be sent if the caveat is due to expire within the next month.

If you require more information or advice about a caveat or any private client matter, please email Olivia Green:

About the author

Olivia Green

Olivia joined TMJ in January 2024 as a Trainee Solicitor and works in the private client department.

TMJ Legal Services

TMJ Legal Services has been helping individuals and businesses since 1986. We offer a range of advice and services. 

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