A Guide to Caveats, Warning & Appearances


When somebody has died leaving assets, the Personal Representative (“PR”) will usually need to apply for a Grant through the Probate Registry. 

A Grant is a document which gives PRs the ability to deal with certain assets. For example, it will allow them to sell the Deceased’s property. The estate will likely be distributed after the Grant is obtained.

What is a Caveat?

If you have concerns about the Deceased’s Will or the PRs taking out the Grant, you will want to ensure the estate is kept safe from distribution until you have concluded your investigations. To do this, you must take prompt action to prevent the issue of the Grant by lodging a document called a Caveat with the Probate Registry.

This can be done using a simple online form, currently at a cost of only £3. The Caveat remains in place for a period of 6 months but can be renewed (subject to it being challenged – comments on this are provided later). 

What is a Warning and how do I respond to this?

The Probate Registry will not notify the PRs of the Caveat’s existence until such time as they apply for the Grant. Once aware of it; however, the PRs will likely want you to remove the Caveat so they can deal with the estate administration. They can either request you to withdraw it, or they may serve you with a document called a Warning which will require you to justify your Caveat. 

A guide to Caveats, Warning & Appearances

Once served, you will then have 14-days to respond to the Warning. If you have changed your mind about pursuing matters and are happy to have your Caveat removed, you do not need to take further action, as the Probate Registry will do this for you should you not respond within this timeframe. If you continue to have concerns, you will need to lodge an Appearance at the Probate Registry. This is a document which sets out your reasons for why the Caveat should remain in place. 

What are the consequences of entering an Appearance?

Entering the Appearance will mean your Caveat becomes permanent and is not capable of being removed unless by court order or consent of the parties. You will likely then be in a stalemate position where somebody needs to take action to progress matters. If no resolution can be found, the Appearance could lead to one or both parties applying to court to ask a Judge to resolve the matter. Court proceedings can be difficult and costly. As a result, court should always be thought of as a matter of last resort. 

If possible, you should seek legal advice about any claim you may have soon after you have entered the Caveat. This will mean that you only enter an Appearance where your claim has merit, and it will prevent you from ending up in adversarial, costly and stressful litigation.

Contact Our Contentious Probate Solicitors

If you have any more questions or would like more information, please get in touch with our Contentious Probate Solicitors below.

0161 941 4000