13 Oct 2017

Case study: Prior Claimants Discovered – Incorrect Distribution Averted

The Facts

Lucy Butterfint of the Beverley, East Yorkshire branch of Wilkin Chapman solicitors came to us with an interesting problem: Frank Foster had died intestate and without leaving surviving spouse, issue, parent or whole blood sibling. Lucy was in touch with some of Frank’s paternal cousins, who were thought eligible to apply for letters of administration to Frank’s estate, and would also need to locate the maternal family. However, there was a question mark over Frank’s paternity – his birth certificate named someone other than Frank’s mother’s husband as his father.

The Problem

Could it be that Frank had half-siblings through his biological father? If so, Frank’s paternal cousins – Lucy’s prospective clients – would be irrelevant to the estate and its administration. Lucy nonetheless wanted to administer Frank’s estate and asked for our help.

The Solution

We recognised that if Frank did have unknown half-siblings, Lucy couldn’t be certain of taking instructions from them and, without a client to instruct her, couldn’t authorise fees from the estate to locate them. Using our Rainmaker™ service, we agreed to establish the true position without exposing Lucy to potentially unrecoverable costs: we would only send Lucy an invoice for our work if we located Frank’s half siblings, they instructed her in the administration of the estate, and they authorised her to settle it.

The Outcome

We identified and located two further children of the man named as Frank’s father on his birth certificate – they were Frank’s half siblings. They had had no idea that Frank had existed, much less that they would share his estate between them. They instructed Lucy in the extraction of Letters of Administration to Frank’s estate and its subsequent administration.


Lucy said
“Moore Probate Research handled this matter swiftly and very cost effectively. Had I not asked for their help, there was a real risk that Frank’s estate could have gone to the wrong people.”

All names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.