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Entering Warnings and Appearances
In deceased estates, where a Caveat has been entered objecting to a Grant of Representation being awarded, a warning off may be required in order to progress proper administration of the estate.
A Caveat prevents a Grant being issued by the Probate Registry until the Caveat is withdrawn or resolved (you can read more about Caveats here) and so the party wishing to apply for the Grant should send a warning to the Caveator of their intention to proceed.
What is a Warning?
A Warning is a document sealed by the Court and then served on the Caveator requesting them to either enter an Appearance at the Court, or to serve a Summons for directions by a Judge or Registrar. Once the Caveator has received the Warning, they have 14 days in which to send one of the above responses, or failing that the Court can withdraw the Caveat and proceed to issue the Grant.
What is an Appearance?
If the Caveator chooses to enter an Appearance in reply to the Warning, they must do so within eight days. The Appearance by the Caveator is a positive response to the Warning – making a representation to the Court that they still object to the issuing of a Grant, and setting out the interest the Caveator has in the estate, along with the reasons why they have lodged the Caveat. The reasons for lodging must be valid and not frivolous. Failure to enter an Appearance may mean the party applying for a Grant of Representation can proceed, and improperly prepared Appearances could end in a similar result or potential costs implications.
What happens next?
If an Appearance is properly entered, then the Caveat remains in place preventing a Grant of Representation being issued, and it would be for the parties to agree how to proceed between themselves. Agreement between the parties could result in withdrawal of the Caveat and issuing of the Grant, or could require the party seeking a Grant to apply to the Court for removal of the Caveat and issuing of the Grant. The Caveator can also seek further orders from the Court on how to proceed with the matter given the stalemate in the application.