Grant Pendente Lite

Grant Pendente Lite
Grant Pendente Lite
Full Overview Of Grant Pendente Lite

The probate process in the United Kingdom can often be a complex and multifaceted procedure, particularly when disputes arise among the beneficiaries or other interested parties. One of the lesser-known but essential tools available in these situations is the Grant Pendente Lite. This document aims to provide an in-depth overview of the Grant Pendente Lite, exploring its significance, the circumstances under which it is issued, and its implications for the probate process.

Understanding Probate

Before delving into the specifics of a Grant Pendente Lite, it is essential to have a basic understanding of the probate process itself. Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s estate is administered. This process involves validating the deceased’s will (if one exists), identifying and valuing the estate’s assets, paying any debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will or the rules of intestacy if no will is present.

Major Terms in Probate

  • Executor: An individual appointed by the will to administer the deceased’s estate.
  • Administrator: An individual appointed to administer the estate if there is no will or no executor is named.
  • Beneficiary: A person or entity entitled to receive a portion of the deceased’s estate.
  • Grant of Probate: A legal document issued by the probate court, giving the executor the authority to administer the estate.
  • Grant of Letters of Administration: A similar document is issued when there is no will or executor.

What is Grant Pendente Lite?

A Grant Pendente Lite, which translates from Latin as “pending litigation,” is a special type of grant issued by the probate court when there is a dispute or litigation concerning the estate. This temporary grant allows an administrator appointed by the court to manage the estate until the dispute is resolved and a permanent grant can be issued.

Circumstances Necessitating a Grant Pendente Lite

There are several situations where a Grant Pendente Lite might be necessary, including:

  1. Will Contests: Disputes over the validity of the will. This could involve allegations of forgery, undue influence, or lack of testamentary capacity.
  2. Executor Disputes: Conflicts regarding the appointment of the executor, especially if there are allegations of misconduct or incapacity.
  3. Beneficiary Disputes: Disagreements among beneficiaries about the distribution of the estate.
  4. Intestacy Conflicts: Situations where the deceased died without a will and disputes over who should administer the estate.

The Application Process

The application for a Grant Pendente Lite typically involves the following steps:

  1. Filing a Caveat: The party initiating the dispute files a caveat with the probate registry, preventing any grant of probate or administration from being issued without their knowledge.
  2. Issuing a Citation: The caveator must then issue a citation to the executor or administrator, prompting them to prove the will in court or show cause why administration should not be granted to them.
  3. Court Hearing: The court will hold a hearing to consider the dispute’s merits. If the court deems it necessary to appoint an interim administrator, it will issue a Grant Pendente Lite.

Responsibilities of the Administrator Pendente Lite

The administrator appointed under a Grant Pendente Lite has limited powers, focusing primarily on preserving the estate rather than distributing it. Their responsibilities typically include:

  • Collecting and safeguarding the assets of the estate.
  • Paying any outstanding debts and necessary expenses.
  • Managing ongoing business interests or properties.
  • Providing regular accounts to the court.

Implications of a Grant Pendente Lite

The issuance of a Grant Pendente Lite has several important implications for the probate process and the parties involved.

For the Estate

The primary purpose of a Grant Pendente Lite is to ensure that the estate is managed and preserved during the period of litigation. This prevents the estate’s value from diminishing due to mismanagement, neglect, or ongoing disputes. It also ensures that urgent financial matters, such as paying debts or maintaining properties, are addressed promptly.

For the Executors and Administrators

For those named as executors in the will or those seeking letters of administration, the issuance of a Grant Pendente Lite means a temporary suspension of their powers. They will not be able to act on behalf of the estate until the dispute is resolved and a permanent grant is issued. This can be frustrating, particularly if the dispute is protracted.

For the Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries may also face delays in receiving their inheritance due to the issuance of a Grant Pendente Lite. While this can be inconvenient, it is often necessary to ensure that the estate is administered fairly and in accordance with the law. Beneficiaries should be kept informed of the progress of the litigation and the actions taken by the administrator pendente lite.

For the Legal Process

The court’s involvement in issuing a Grant Pendente Lite adds an additional layer of oversight to the probate process. This can be beneficial in ensuring that disputes are handled fairly and that the interests of all parties are considered. However, it also means the legal process may be longer and more complex.

Case Law and Precedents

To understand the application and implications of a Grant Pendente Lite, it is useful to examine relevant case law and precedents. Several notable cases illustrate the principles and considerations involved in granting and administering a Grant Pendente Lite.

Re Browne (1982)

In this case, the deceased left a will appointing his wife as the sole executor. However, there were allegations of undue influence, and the deceased’s children contested the will. The court issued a Grant Pendente Lite, appointing a neutral third party as the administrator to preserve the estate until the dispute was resolved.

Re Smith (1990)

This case involved a complex dispute over the validity of a will, with multiple parties claiming to be the rightful beneficiaries. The court issued a Grant Pendente Lite to an independent administrator, who was tasked with managing the estate’s assets and ensuring that the interests of all parties were protected during the litigation.

Re Jones (2005)

In Re Jones, the executor named in the will was found unfit due to a conflict of interest. The beneficiaries sought a Grant Pendente Lite, which the court granted. This allowed an impartial administrator to take over the estate’s management until a permanent decision regarding the executor’s appointment could be made.

Practical Considerations

When dealing with a Grant Pendente Lite, there are several practical considerations for all parties involved.

Choosing an Administrator

The court typically appoints an independent, professional administrator for a Grant Pendente Lite to ensure impartiality. This individual should have experience in estate management and a good understanding of the legal and financial issues involved.


Clear and regular communication between the administrator pendente lite, the beneficiaries, and other interested parties is crucial. This helps to manage expectations, provide updates on the estate’s status, and address any concerns promptly.

Cost Management

The estate typically bears the costs associated with a Grant Pendente Lite, including legal fees and the administrator’s remuneration. It is important to manage these costs effectively to preserve the estate’s value for the beneficiaries.

Time Management

The duration of a Grant Pendente Lite can vary depending on the complexity of the dispute. All parties should be prepared for a lengthy process and plan accordingly.


A Grant Pendente Lite is a vital tool in the probate process, providing a mechanism for managing and preserving an estate during periods of litigation. While it introduces additional steps and complexities into the probate process, it ensures that the estate is safeguarded and that disputes are resolved fairly and transparently.

Understanding the circumstances under which a Grant Pendente Lite is issued, the responsibilities of the administrator pendente lite, and the implications for the various parties involved is essential for anyone navigating the probate process. By adhering to the principles and practices outlined in this document, individuals and legal professionals can ensure that the probate process proceeds smoothly, even in the face of disputes and litigation.

At DLS Solicitors, we are committed to providing expert guidance and support throughout the probate process, including situations involving a Grant Pendente Lite. Our team of experienced solicitors is here to assist you every step of the way, ensuring that the estate is managed effectively and that your interests are protected. If you have any questions or need assistance with a probate matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.


This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 11th July 2024.

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