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Court of Appeal reduces daughter’s share of parents’ farm

Sarah Nash, Solicitor and Head of Astle Paterson’s Wills and Probate Department, discusses the recent Court of Appeal decision to allow an appeal by Mr & Mrs Davies of Carmarthenshire to reduce their daughter’s proprietary estoppel claim for a share of the family dairy farm from £1.3 million to £500,000.

Sarah explained “In previous Court proceedings, the Davies’ daughter, Eirian, had succeeded in bringing the claim against her parents on the basis that they had said that they would give the farm to her in return for her work, for which she only received board, lodgings and a small allowance.

Eirian had worked on the farm since the age of 17 and, of the Davies’ three daughters, she had been the one most likely to take it over from her parents.   Initially, Mr and Mrs Davies had agreed to leave the land and buildings to her in their Wills and they had also considered giving her a share of the farming business partnership, but it appeared they had a change of heart and, subsequently, transferred the farm into trust for Eirian and her two sisters.   As a result, the family fell out and Eirian left the farm in 2012.

Whilst the Court of Appeal rejected the Davies’ attempt to reduce Eirian’s compensation award to £350,000, the Judges settled on an award of £500,000, although their reasoning for this is not clear.”

Sarah concluded “This case demonstrates the difficulties facing many farming families who seek to ensure equality between children, where only some of them may be involved with the farm, and the continuance of the farming business for future generations.

With proper legal advice, a family can be guided through the various ways in which this could be achieved and thereby avoid the costs and emotional damage of a family rift.”

Should you be planning for the future then please contact Sarah Nash of Astle Paterson’s Wills and Probate Department on 01283 531366 or at snash@astlepaterson.co.uk to discuss matters further. 

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