Darlington-based law firm Latimer Hinks has highlighted to the agricultural community just how important it is to undertake proper planning at an early stage following a landmark proprietary estoppel judgment relating to a family farming business.
The recent case centred on the estate of farming business owner Frank Habberfield, and a dispute between his 82-year old widow and youngest daughter about ownership. When Frank passed away in 2014, he left his entire estate to his wife. However, his daughter Lucy brought a claim against her mother alleging that her parents had promised her ownership of the farm upon their retirement. Mrs Habberfield denied this claim.
The England and Wales High Court found in favour of Lucy, and her mother will now be forced to sell the home she has occupied for 40 years in order to fulfil the £1.17 million cash settlement awarded to her daughter.