Understanding the Law
May 15, 2009

You have an interest in the estate of a testator, you got information that someone has applied to the Registrar for a grant of probate or for letters of administration. You think that the person who makes the application should not be issued a grant, then you need to enter a caveat.{{more}}

What is a caveat?

It is a notice in writing to the Registrar that no grant is to be sealed/ issued to the applicant without notice to you. Section 8 of Cap 377 of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Revised edition 1990 approves of such a notice.

In essence, you are opposed to the issuance of the grant of probate or administration to the applicant. On entering a caveat you become the caveator.

Reasons for entering a caveat.

You may need to enter a caveat as a preliminary step to commencing a probate action or the issuing of citation proceedings;

You might use it as a delaying tactic. In that way you are able to find the time to do your research concerning any existing grounds to object to the issue of a grant to the applicant;

If you have equal rights with the applicant it would give you time to approach the court for an order which would determine to whom the grant should be issued; or

You would get the chance to apply to the court for an order requiring the surety or sureties to provide a guarantee on the administration bond.

To enable you to bring an issue with respect to the grant to the attention of the Registrar

The effect of a caveat

It delays the issuance of a grant of administration or probate for a further six months although it would not hold up such grant as that given to a person to bring a court action – that is a grant pendente lite.

Nonetheless a caveat could be renewed from time to time but it must be done at least one month before it expires.

The caveator could apply to have the grant given to him self.

The caveat could be removed if the caveator fails to appear when a warning is issued by the applicant, or if the caveator withdraws or by an order of the judge.

When a caveat is received the Registrar would inform the applicant of the caveat. The original applicant could, thereafter, warn the caveat.

Warning the caveat

The person who made the application has to warn the caveat to find out the nature of the interest of the caveator. The warning is a notice to the caveator to make an appearance within eight days inclusive of the day of service and to set out his interest in the matter.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.

E-mail address is: [email protected]