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Our client, a not for profit organisation providing care and accommodation services for the elderly was owed over £30k including interest by Ethel.  When Ethel died her son Nigel acted in the role of executor but without obtaining an official grant of probate.  Naughty Nigel helped himself to Ethel’s money but did not pay the liabilities owed by her estate.  Liabilities should be paid before distributions to beneficiaries.

Nigel failed to co-operate with our client and for a long time instead attempted to blame a third party  – the local authority.  He assumed the authority should be responsible for paying our client.  The local authority was adamant that was incorrect. That was probably because Nigel was also suspected to have benefited from the proceeds of the sale of Ethel’s home during her lifetime, money he spent on work to his own property.  Our client was caught in the middle in the situation.

Nigel would not recognise that Ethel (her estate) contractually was responsible for the payment and it was a separate matter for Nigel to resolve the issues he had with the authority.

How we helped

The deadlock was broken by pursuit of an Insolvent Estate Administration Order offering a springboard option to put under the spotlight the dealings Nigel had with Ethel’s money.


This type of petition is routinely served upon the executor responsible for the estate but in this case because the evasive Nigel (who was also frequently out of the country) had not obtained an official grant of probate an extra layer of complication arose.  This was overcome by simultaneous application to gain authorisation to serve the petition on Nigel and for the service method to be via post and email.


The deadlock was broken, Nigel engaged legal representatives and faced up to the matter he had long ignored.  He was keen to avoid his previous actions being scrutinised and agreed to make payment in full to our client plus costs.

– Names changed for anonymity reasons.