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    Default Probate Caveat

    I am the sole executor of my Mothers Will. My sister has put a caveat on my Mothers Will even before knowing what was in it and what date it was written, and not given me a valid reason, though she hasn't been left half the estate, so I presume this is the problem, and she obviously had a feeling this was the case prior to seeing the Will as she rarely saw my Mother.

    I am in no rush to sort this, but I have concerns that it will cost the estate residue a lot of money the longer it drags on, so I'm not sure what steps to take. I have a solicitor who has advised to wait to see if the caveator contacts me regarding sorting this, before raising a warning, as if they appear and caveat is accepted then it could end up costing thousands in sorting this, and I would like to protect the residue of the estate as it is my Mothers wish that my sister gets this.

    Any advise would be appreciated!

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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    tagging @Peridot ... one for you maybe??
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Hi,
    Not ideal, unfortunately many people have heard of caveats and blindly go ahead and place them before they even know what is going on which seems to be the case here. Are you in contact with your sister? Are you able to discuss the situation?
    Your solicitor is right as far as costs of dealing if she refuses to remove the caveat and it had to go to Court as she makes a claim against the estate. It can be very expensive and time consuming so if at all possible negotiation and settlement is by far preferable.
    As you are aware you can't obtain the Grant until the caveat is removed so if there is a way of speaking to your sister about this it may be a better option. You also need to consider whether your sister has any potential claim against the estate. Was she being supported by your mother in any way, whether living at her property or financially?
    It is not costing the estate while it is sitting there but if the matter became a claim against the estate then it could cost a considerable amount potentially.
    Hopefully your sister will agree to remove the caveat so that the estate can be administered and then maybe discussions can be had regarding how to settle this.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Thank you for your reply.

    My sister and I sadly don't really speak, mainly due to her lack of support for my Mother, and unfortunately over the last 4 years Mum lost mental capacity due to dementia, and she rarely visited.

    I have tried to talk to her via emails, and asked for the grounds used for caveat to which she replied 'I filed the caveat simply to protect my position' so I really don't know what to do.

    I've told her this could end up coming out of the estate but she hasn't replied.

  5. #5
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Not sure what position she is trying to protect if she wasn't supported by mum, didn't live with her and does receive something under the Will in any event? Unfortunately grief effects people in very strange ways. It is tough for both of you, maybe some time will heal to the point things can be discussed sensibly?
    The caveat will remain for 6 months and can be renewed for a further 6 months. If she does nothing it will just lapse so it is weighing up whether you keep reminding her or leave well alone? So difficult as ultimately it seems that you both need to move on following the loss of your mother and that can't happen until you are able to deal with the estate. Do you know if your sister sought legal advice before she applied for the caveat?
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Don't think she did, but she has now and has apparently instructed a solicitor to write asking for a statement of assets and liabilities, though as Mum was in a Nursing Home for some time, she only has a bank account and her house and my sister is aware of amount in account so I'm unsure why she needs this and I can't work everything out exactly until I've got probate, and I still don't know what her grounds for caveat are!

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    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Don't panic about it. Did you say you had instructed a solicitor to deal with the estate? They will be obtaining all the details if so.
    If not then what they are asking for are the assets and liabilities basically which you would have to establish in order to complete the relevant tax forms and probate application in any event.
    If you have instructed a solicitor to deal they will sort all this out and you shouldn't worry. If you haven't instructed solicitors to act then you need to be contacting any banks/building societies etc together with obtaining house valuations and personal possession valuations in any event to enable you to apply for the Grant of Probate.
    If you confirm whether you have solicitors acting or not. If not we can point you in the direction of what information you need to be obtaining as the executor in order to deal with the estate.
    This link may be useful if you haven't already had a look:-
    https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    I have filled in all relevant probate forms, she only had one bank account and her house, and I had paid everything up to date, so they proved quite simple!
    I have a solicitor ready to act on behalf of the estate when it comes to it, but I was waiting for probate to be granted before instructing him as I know it would be coming out of my sisters inheritance, so I am trying to keep costs down, but sister has now raised a caveat.
    My main issue is that as I don't know why it was raised, and my sister is not telling me, so therefore it looks like I'll have to instruct a solicitor to find this out before the issue can be resolved!

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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Ok is there any reason not to provide a copy of the IHT205 (or IHT400 and supporting forms) to your sisters solicitor?
    Has she seen a copy of the Will? If she is a residuary beneficiary? Is there any reason not to show her a copy?
    Do you think she may wish to challenge the validity of the Will? You mentioned that your mother was a dementia sufferer, was the will prepared before the onset of her dementia?
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    She has copy of Will, and is welcome to a copy of IHT Form.

    She may wish to challenge validity of Will, but this was written in 2006 with a Will writing company, that my Mum had arranged, in front of 2 independent witnesses who are willing to make a statement regarding Mums understanding of the Will.

    Mum was diagnosed in 2008 with early stage Dementia, and didn't pass away until June 2017.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Ok, it sounds like she can't challenge the validity provided all the legalities were completed and there was no issue over her capacity at the time she made the Will.
    I doubt that your sister is going to tell you what she wants bearing in mind she has not been forthcoming so far. There is no reason not to provide a copy of the IHT form to her solicitor. It may be that this prompts the solicitor to at least come back with what your sister wishes to achieve or lets you know they will be making a claim against the estate. I'm not sure what argument she would be trying to use but in any event negotiation is key and the Courts would also expect you to try and deal with this yourselves before any Court proceedings are issued.
    By disclosing the IHT form, the solicitor for your sister may ask for further documents. It appears that there is nothing to hide from what you say, so I would suggest you provide them if requested.
    They may make a Larke v Negus request (Just an old case name) which basically will be to explore whether the Will was created correctly and that the necessary capacity checks were carried out by the will writers. Again this is a usual request and something that the Courts would expect you to comply with rather than waiting for proceedings to happen. It is all about co-operation really to try and see what the issues are and to then try and reach an agreement.
    With regard to the Will has your sister ended up with very little, for example do you inherit the house and her the rest of the estate? Were you living with your mother or were you with her when the will was prepared? I am just trying to think of things that may cause your sister's solicitor to raise any concerns.
    For the moment I would be inclined to send the copy of the IHT form and see what they come back with.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Mum was living on her own at the time Will was prepared, I have a home of my own, but I did see Mum every day, we were very close, we grew even closer after my Dad passed away in 1996.

    My sister only ever saw her and my Dad a few times a year and never on a special occasions ie: Birthdays or Christmas and this upset my Mum greatly.

    Her residue inheritance is about a 1/4 of the value of the house.

    I'm happy for my sister to see anything that will help this to get sorted, as I said, I'm trying to protect her inheritance.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Lets hope that by providing them with the figures it opens the lines of communication.
    Here if you need us.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    I've now sent her everything I have, special delivery, and emailed sisters solicitor telling them its on its way with the tracking number and a copy of my cover letter, so not much else I can do other than wait.

    Thank you for all you help!!
    Last edited by SmurfEater; 8th July 2017 at 18:10:PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    In future I would send any info to the solicitor if she has one and let them pass copies on. It may be worth sending copies of the documents you sent to your sister. Obviously if she isn't instructing someone yet it isn't a problem. Hopefully she will indicate what she is expecting.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Sorry... I didn't make last post clear... I sent all documentation and cover letter special delivery to her solicitor and also emailed them telling them to expect it and also attached cover letter!
    I also asked in cover letter if they could ask her why she raised caveat!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Sorry misunderstood. Let's hope there is some progress now.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Thank you for all your support... It is much appreciated!

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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Sisters Solicitor emailed me asking for valuations on house, I based valuation on an insurance valuation I had on property last year, and house prices in the area. Do I need to get a probate valuation? I was under the impression that you could use your own valuation? If anything I over valued the house as it needs quite a lot of work. There is someone renting house at moment, and they are on holiday, so I can't arrange a valuation until they return.

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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Hi,
    It would be best to get about 3 estate agent valuations. Insurance valuations are not really used. It is important to explain that the valuation is for probate so needs to be the likely value the house would have sold for on the day your mother died. If you get three from local estate agents and then take the average, or the most likely depending on the state of the property etc. I would suggest pointing out any major issues, however be aware if the property eventually sells for substantially more than the valuation there may be capital gains tax to pay.
    I hope that helps?
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Thank you! I also sent her solicitor a copy of Mums medical history summary that I had from the doctors... without even being asked for it.. they have now asked for full medical records.. that I don't have! I don't as yet have anything to defend as she still hasn't told me why she's entered caveat!
    Last edited by SmurfEater; 11th July 2017 at 16:41:PM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    I suspect if they are asking for a full set of medical records they may be exploring the possibility your mother did not have capacity when she wrote the Will. But you will have to wait and see. I would tell them you don't have a full set and propose they obtain them if they wish to have sight of them. There will be a fee for the records.
    If I recall correctly mum was diagnosed some 2 years after she had prepared the Will and provided the company who prepared mum's will checked her capacity issues at the time this shouldn't be an issue. It seems they are trying to think of anything to enable a claim at this stage. Sit tight and see what they come up with next. Even if there is speculation that your mother was suffering from dementia when she had her will prepared, it does not in itself mean that she did not have capacity when she signed the Will. The issue of capacity is at the moment she signs and that she understood the content and effect of the Will at that time.
    Wait and see what they suggest next. I suspect they are exploring every option before deciding whether there is even a claim!
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    Thank you...your information has been invaluable!
    If they keep emailing me I will definitely need to instruct a solicitor on my behalf as they are probing me for answers to things constantly... And as I have nothing to hide I am being as upfront as I possibly can but its proving stressful!
    I have given her until end of month to give me a reason for entering caveat so I'll have to see what this brings! Is there anything else I need to ask them for?

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    I'd just sit tight and wait for them to come to you. You can't disclose anything you don't have. It sounds like they are looking at the validity of the will so they may ask for the details of who prepared it. It is for them to contact the company for the information.
    It may be necessary for you to get a solicitor at some point, for some support if nothing else but hopefully it may be avoided.
    Their requests do seem exploratory at the moment maybe as they are trying to establish if there is even a claim.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Probate Caveat

    They now have absolutely everything I have so yes... You are right... There's nothing else I can give!
    Witnesses who signed Will have said they would make statements regarding Mums ability and understanding so fingers crossed!
    Thank you so much once again for your patience!
    Last edited by SmurfEater; 11th July 2017 at 10:52:AM.

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