Q&As

What is the definition of ‘intermeddling’ in an estate? Can an executor make a claim against the estate for either proprietary estoppel or under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 without renouncing their executorship? Can an executor, before the application for the grant, appoint an attorney to act on their behalf to allow them to pursue those claims?

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Produced in partnership with James Smith of Mishcon de Reya
Last updated on 01/08/2019

The following Private Client Q&A produced in partnership with James Smith of Mishcon de Reya provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is the definition of ‘intermeddling’ in an estate? Can an executor make a claim against the estate for either proprietary estoppel or under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 without renouncing their executorship? Can an executor, before the application for the grant, appoint an attorney to act on their behalf to allow them to pursue those claims?
  • Intermeddling
  • Executors and the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claims
  • Executors and proprietary estoppel claims
  • Giving power of attorney to extract a grant de bonis non so as to pursue claims

What is the definition of ‘intermeddling’ in an estate? Can an executor make a claim against the estate for either estoppel'>proprietary estoppel or under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 without renouncing their executorship? Can an executor, before the application for the grant, appoint an attorney to act on their behalf to allow them to pursue those claims?

This Q&A assumes that the executor is one of several personal representatives (PRs) and has an interest in the estate beside the executorship.

Intermeddling

Intermeddling occurs where a person handles the deceased’s assets and/or holds themselves out as an executor. There is no formal test for what constitutes intermeddling, but the threshold is not high. For examples where the court has found intermeddling, see Holder v Holder and Re Stevens. In considering whether a particular act amounts to intermeddling, it is often useful to consider whether that act, had it been carried out by someone who had not been not nominated as an executor, would be likely to make such a person liable as an executor de son tort. In the case of Holder, it was commented that a nominated executor is taken to have accepted the executorship if they do any act which indicates an intention to take on the executorship unless it is so trivial as to amount only to a technical intermeddling.

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Key definition:
Intermeddling definition
What does Intermeddling mean?

An individual who performs certain duties which a personal representative would perform to administer a deceased’s estate intermeddles in the estate. By performing these duties, the individual holds themselves out to be a personal representative and is deemed to have accepted the role.

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