Estate Litigation: Caveat Proceedings

What is a Caveat Proceedings?

A caveat proceeding occurs when someone contests a Last Will and Testament. Also referred to a “Will Caveat”, this is a court action where an interested party challenges the last will and testament validated in probate. Once a caveat is filed, probate is put on hold and the matter is sent to superior court for hearing. If you believe that a will should be contested please contact our attorneys, and we can advocate for you to ensure that your interests are protected.

What are the requirements for Caveat?

Anyone who has an interest in the estate can file a will caveat. However, the caveat must be filed within three years from the time the will is submitted to probate.   In a caveat proceeding, the person contesting the will is called a “caveator” and the person that defends the will is called the “propounder”.

There are several reasons to contest a will. Our attorneys can advise you about your matter to determine if you have grounds to challenge a will. Some grounds for caveat include:

  •     Undue influence;
  •     Lack of testamentary capacity;
  •     Fraud;
  •     Duress; or
  •     Mistake;

Caveat hearings are held in the presence of a jury and decided by greater weight of the evidence. Greater weight of the evidence means more likely than not that an event occured. It is also possible to resolve the issues prior to a hearing in a family settlement agreement.

What are the costs for Caveat Proceedings?

 The estate could be liable for attorney fees for both the caveator and the propounder. Our team of estate attorneys can advise you about having the attorney fees taxed to the estate of the decedent, depending on the circumstances.

Will caveats can be emotional and contentious, if you are interested in contesting a will or need representation as a propounder, we are available to assist you throughout the entire process. Contact our office for a consultation.  Our team of estate attorneys is experienced in the areas of estates and can assist you in understanding the long-term impact your decisions may have. Call our us at 336-379-1390 to schedule your consultation today.

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Albert L. Saslow

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(336) 379-1390

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