The probate of a will is a proceeding in rem, and there are in a strict sense no parties to an issue of devisavit vel non. In re *551 Lomax, 226 N. C., 498, 39 S. E. (2d), 388. But the courts put pro-pounders and caveators in the category of parties for the purpose of ruling upon the admissibility of their admissions and declarations in will contests. See Page on Wills (Lifetime Ed.), Vol. 2, sections 801, 802, 803.
The exception of the caveators to the introduction of the declaration of Dewey Cassada presents this question for determination: "Where several heirs at law and next of kin caveat an alleged will of a decedent on the ground of testamentary incapacity, are extra-judicial admissions of one of the caveators made without the authority of the others competent as substantive evidence in behalf of the propounders to contradict the assertion of testamentary incapacity made by the caveators or to establish the claim of testamentary capacity advanced by the propound-ers ? This question must be answered in the negative.
The propounders insist, however, that this answer is incorrect, because of the familiar rule of evidence that a declaration against interest constitutes legal testimony against the declarant. McCraine, v. Clarke, 6 N. C., 317; Enloe v. Sherrill, 28 N. C., 212. As the statement of Dewey Cassada received in evidence on the trial has a tendency to refute the claim of the caveators that their virtual disinheritance by the decedent was unnatural, it is undoubtedly a declaration against the interest of the declarant, Dewey Cassada, and would clearly be admissible against him as such under the authorities if he wore the sole heir at law and next of kin of the decedent. 167 A. L. R., Annotation, 12-109; 28 R. C. L., Wills, section 412; Pollock v. Pollock, 328 Ill., 179, 159 N. E., 305; McMann v. Murphy, 259 Mass., 397, 156 N. E., 680. See, also, in this connection, the authorities quoted in these North Carolina cases: In re Fowler, 156 N. C., 340, 72 S. E., 357; Ann. Cas. 1913A, 85, 38 L. R. A. (N. S.), 745; Linebarger v. Linebarger, 143 N. C., 229, 55 S. E., 709, 10 Ann. Cas., 596. This would be true in such case, because the admissions as to the mental capacity of the alleged testator would affect the interest of the declarant only. Ramseyer v. Dennis, 187 Ind., 420, 119 N. E., 716.
Bui. Dewey Cassada is not the sole heir at law and next of kin of W. J. Cassada. Five other heirs at law and next of kin of the decedent have joined in the caveat and are here resisting the probate of the script in controversy. The admission of Dewey Cassada received in evidence on the trial was not authorized in any way by any of the other caveators. These facts call for the application of the well settled and just principle that no one should be concluded by the unauthorized statements of another where there is no privity between them and they have no joint interest in the matter in suit. Linebarger v. Linebarger, supra; 31 C. J. S., Evidence, section 318. No privity exists between Dewey Cassada and *552the other caveators. Each of the caveators claims independently of the others through W. J. Oassada alone under the statutes of descent and distribution. The caveators have a community of interest in the successful prosecution of the caveat, but they do not have a joint interest in the matter in suit in a legal sense. On the contrary, their interests are several. If they meet with success in their effort to defeat probate of the alleged will, they will not be joint owners of either the real or the personal property of the decedent. In such event, they will hold their respective shares in the land in question as tenants in common and their respective shares in the personal estate under consideration in severalty.
This isTiot a case where a declaration against interest can be admitted as against the party who made it and excluded as against his coparties. This is true, because the-paper writing in controversy cannot be admitted to probate as against Dewey Oassada and rejected for probate as against the other caveators. The issue relating to the testamentary capacity of the deceased involves the validity of the alleged will as a whole, and the court is limited in power to the rendition of a judgment either probating the alleged will in its entirety or rejecting it as a whole. The admission of Dewey Oassada should not, therefore, be received in evidence, because it could not possibly have any effect as to himself without affecting the other caveators. Hence, reason demands that the declaration be excluded, and that the propounders be required to maintain their position upon the issue concerning the testamentary capacity of the decedent by testimony competent against all of the caveators.
This conclusion finds full support in well considered decisions of this Court and of appellate courts in other jurisdictions. McDonald v. McLendon, 113 N. C., 172, 91 S. E., 1017, Ann. Cas., 1918A, 1063; In re Fowler, supra; Linebarger v. Linebarger, supra; Estate of Dolbeer, 153 Cal., 652, 96 P., 266, 15 Ann. Cas., 207; Roller v. Kling, 150 Ind., 159, 49 N. E., 948; Powell v. Bechtel, 340 Ill., 330, 172 N. E., 765; James v. Fairall, 154 Iowa, 253, 134 N. W., 608, 38 L. R. A. (N. S.), 731; Mailer of Myer, 184 N. Y., 54, 76 N. E., 920, 6 Ann. Cas., 26. A case very much in point is Matter of Kennedy, 167 N. Y., 163, 60 N. E., 442. See, also, 31 C. J. S., Evidence, sec. 318; 28 R. C. L., Wills, Sec. 412.
The error committed in receiving the declaration in question in evidence is of sufficient moment to entitle the caveators to a new trial. - It is so ordered.