Stopping a probate application

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Challenge someone else's probate application

You can challenge someone else’s probate application (‘enter a caveat’) if there’s a dispute, for example about:

​​The caveat lasts for 6 months at first, then you can extend it for another 6 months. The caveat stops all applications for probate on the estate being granted during that time.

Entering a caveat can lead to legal action and legal costs. You should try to come to an agreement with the person applying for probate first.

This guide and the service are also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

How to enter a caveat

You must be 18 or over.

You can do it yourself, or use a solicitor or another person licensed to provide probate services.

If you’re entering a caveat yourself, you can:

HMCTS Probate
PO BOX 12625
Harlow
CM20 9QE

What information you need

You need:

  • the full name of the person who’s died and any other names they were known by
  • the exact date of death on the death certificate
  • the last address of the person who’s died
  • your home address in England or Wales

If you do not have the death certificate

You can enter a caveat without the death certificate, but you must amend the caveat with the exact date of death when you know it. The probate application might not be stopped if the date of death is wrong.

Fees

It costs £3 to enter a caveat.

If you apply by post, you must pay by sending a cheque payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’ with your form.

Get help with fees

You may be able to get help to pay the caveat fee and other court fees if you have a low income or are on certain benefits.

You’ll still need to pay the caveat application fee if you apply for a caveat online. You’ll be refunded if your application for help with fees is successful.

You have to apply for help with fees online or fill in form EX160 before applying for a caveat.

Before applying for a caveat, you need to email the probate fees team with your online ‘help with fees’ reference number or completed form EX160. In the email subject line, you need to include:

  • ‘HWF’
  • whether you’re applying for a caveat online or by post
  • the full name of the person who died
  • the date of death

Probate help with fees team
probatehelpwithfees@justice.gov.uk

To apply by post, send your completed form EX160 to the national probate registry in Newcastle. Include a note to say whether you’re applying for a caveat online or by post.

After you’ve entered a caveat

The probate application will be stopped one working day after your caveat application is received.

If a probate application is approved the same day you submit a caveat, it will not be stopped. To submit your caveat urgently, make an appointment to visit a probate registry.

Caveats last for 6 months. They stop all applications for probate on the estate being granted during that time.

If the probate applicant disagrees with your caveat, they might:

  • come to an agreement with you and ask you to withdraw the caveat
  • issue a formal ‘warning’

Withdrawing or amending a caveat

You can withdraw or amend your caveat by email or post. In your email or letter, include:

  • your 16 digit caveat reference
  • the full name of the person who has died
  • confirmation you want to withdraw the caveat or details of what needs changing

If you have responded to a formal warning by ‘entering an appearance’, you cannot withdraw your caveat. It can only be removed by order of a District Probate Registrar, High Court Judge or District Judge.

If you applied online, email:
contactprobate@justice.gov.uk

If you applied by post, email:
leedsdprenquiries@justice.gov.uk

Leeds District Probate Registry
York House
31 York Place
Leeds
LS1 2BA

Responding to a warning from the probate applicant

You have 14 days to respond to a warning (including weekends and bank holidays). If you do not respond, the probate applicant can apply to remove the caveat.

You can respond by entering an ‘appearance’ or issuing a ‘summons’.

Entering an appearance

To enter an appearance you must have a ‘contrary interest’. For example:

  • you believe the will is invalid and you would be entitled if there was no will or under an earlier or later will
  • there’s no will and you think you should be applying for probate, not the person who currently is, under the probate rules

Request an appearance form from Leeds District Probate Registry. Complete it and send it back to them.

If the Registrar agrees with your reasons for entering an appearance, they’ll make the caveat permanent. Then it can only be removed by order of a District Probate Registrar, High Court Judge or District Judge.

Issuing a summons

To issue a summons you do not need to have a contrary interest. Instead you might, for example, think you’re equally entitled to apply for probate or think the current executor is not suitable.

Request a summons form from Leeds District Probate Registry. Complete it and send it back with a signed statement of facts, setting out your reasons for issuing a summons.

The Registrar will decide who is entitled to apply for probate. They might suggest an independent administrator deals with the estate.

Leeds District Probate Registry
0300 3030 648
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8am to 6pm
Tuesday and Thursday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 2pm
Closed on bank holidays
Find out about call charges
leedsdprenquiries@justice.gov.uk

Leeds District Probate Registry
York House
31 York Place
Leeds
LS1 2BA

Extending a caveat

You can extend a caveat for another 6 months, if you’ve not entered an appearance or issued a summons.

It costs £3 to extend a caveat.

You can only apply for an extension in the last month before a caveat expires.

To extend your caveat, write to Leeds District Probate Registry. Include your:

  • name
  • caveat expiry date
  • caveat case number
  • a cheque for £3 payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’

To extend your caveat urgently, make an appointment to visit a probate registry.

If you need help

You can contact the Probate helpline.

Probate helpline
0300 303 0648
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8am to 6pm
Tuesday and Thursday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 2pm
Closed on bank holidays
Find out about call charges