Justine Aubin: Good morning everyone. My name is Justine Aubin and I’m one of the lawyers in the Contested Estates department here at Turnbull Hill Lawyers.
Adrian Corbould: And I’m Adrian Corbould, Accredited Specialist in Wills and Estates at Turnbull Hill.
Justine: So, we thought today that we talked about some of the common enquiries that we do get here a lot and something that we get asked a lot about is caveats. We do understand that not everybody is familiar with Estates law and it can be quite an emotional and stressful time. So, we just thought we’d shed some light in regards to caveats. So, something that I get asked a lot is that someone will call through and be worried, stressed out, their loved one’s just passed and they’re worried that there might have been some suspicious activity around the making of the Will. They’re worried that their loved one might not have actually had capacity at the time of making their last Will. So, what should they do? What is I guess the next step for them an Adrian?
Adrian: Yeah, so in that situation there’s a lot of not knowing anything. So, what will happen is they may not necessarily be contacted by anyone at any time. They can’t, no one can presume that just because they are related to a deceased person by some, whether by relationship or being a child that someone will automatically contact them.
Justine: Yeah, so that can be quite stressful.
Justine: So, what is the next step forward? So, what should we be telling the enquiry?
Adrian: Yeah well, what someone who does hold a Will who isn’t the enquirer, what they’ll be doing is they’ll be seeking to obtain probate of the document they have.
Justine: Okay, so what is probate are you able to explain what that is?
Adrian: Yeah, a probate is the process of proving the Will and the method is, they file some documents at the Supreme Court with the Will seeking for that document to be probated. Once the court approves it they stamp it and they give it to the Executor to go and administer the estate.
Justine: Okay, so once probate has been granted that is the last Will.
Adrian: Yeah, that’s established, that’s the last Will and it’s difficult, not impossible, but it’s difficult to then challenge the validity of that Will once it’s been probated.
Justine: So, if someone’s got concern that that last Will might not actually be valid then do they need to do something before probate is granted?
Adrian: Yeah, absolutely and it’s a simple process called putting a caveat on probate.
Justine: Okay and what does a caveat do?
Adrian: So, a caveat means beware or warning. The analogy I use is it’s a stop sign to anyone who is applying for probate, they will be notified by the Probate Registry, “Oh, we can’t do anything further because there’s a caveat on probate.”
Justine: Okay, so if there is a caveat that’s been filed, that will give the person I guess some time to make some enquiries and obtain some more information.
Adrian: Yeah, the caveat lasts six months.
Adrian: After six months it expires. At that time, they either have to renew a new one.
Justine: So, you can renew another one?
Adrian: You can renew it, but you’ve got to be aware that there’s a six-month time and it’s not just a place it on once and sit back and wait. It will lapse up after six months.
Justine: All right, well thank you that was really helpful. Hopefully that answered some of your questions. Thank you.