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Contesting a Will - When to submit a caveat?

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The High Court has decided that a claimant who entered a caveat and then unsuccessfully challenged the validity of a Will without reasonable cause should pay the court costs of both sides.

A caveat prevents the issue of a Grant of Probate and so stops the estate of a deceased from being administered, for example because of a dispute over who can apply for a grant of representation or whether a Will exists. In this case the claimant entered a caveat as the first step in the process in his challenge to the validity of the Will. As the claimant couldn’t provide reasonable grounds for challenging the Will, the court agreed that the claimant should pay the court costs of the other side as well as their own. These costs should only be paid by the time the claimant and their representation took the view that there was no reasonable ground to contest the Will.

Kevin Horn, Partner in the Private Client Department at Warner Goodman explains “This case serves as a reminder that entering a caveat to prevent the distribution of the estate without reasonable grounds could result in an expensive costs order being made against you if you fail in your attempt to challenge a Will. Entering a caveat may well be an entirely justifiable step when thinking about contesting a Will, giving you time to gather evidence supporting your claim, but you should consider lifting the caveat if the evidence is less than compelling because by allowing the process to move forward you are more likely to be able to convince the Court that you were not acting unreasonably and so a costs order is less likely to be made against you if your challenge proves unsuccessful.”

If you considering contesting a Will please contact our Private Client team on 01329 222075 or go to their section of the website here.  


This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.