Creditor of estate beneficiary unable to bring a probate claim

11 November, 2014
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

In a recent High Court case it was held that the creditor of an estate beneficiary was not able bring a probate claim against a deceased’s estate.

In Randall v Randall [2014] a mother had appointed her daughter as the main beneficiary of her estate under her will. Before the mother died, the daughter had entered into a consent order with her former husband to share part of any gifts that she might receive from her mother. This would include any gift left by her mother’s will. Following the mother’s death, the former husband sought to dispute the validity of the deceased’s will and to revoke the grant of probate taken out by the daughter.

As the former husband was merely a creditor of a beneficiary under the estate, the court found that he did not have a sufficient interest in the estate or sufficient legal standing to bring a claim under Civil Procedure Rule 57 (the rules that govern contentious probate claims). In fact, the judge went on to say that even a direct creditor of the estate would not have sufficient interest in the estate for the purposes of the Civil Procedure Rules, thereby re-establishing a 19thcentury common law principle.

This case not only provides useful confirmation of who can bring a contentious probate claim under the Civil Procedure Rules but it also highlights the importance of joining third parties, such as parents, into consent orders when they are drafted if at all possible.