Are you from a farming family? Do you or your children work in the family farming partnership or business? Do you farm land owned by a family member, friend or neighbour under an informal arrangement rather than an Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy or Farm Business Tenancy?
If so, the decision in Guest may impact your life and on your family!
Holly Smith, Associate Solicitor in the Family team discusses the decision in Guest and another v Guest  UKSC 27 case, and the impact that judgment will have on farming families generally.
Andrew, the adult Son in Guest, lived and worked on his parent’s farm for over 30 years. Andrew worked long hours for minimal pay over a long period of time on the promise that he would inherit part of the farm on his parent’s death. Like many farming families, the family arrangements were discussed informally “around the kitchen table” and had not been recorded in writing.
When relationships broke down between Andrew and his parents, they (as the legal owners of the property in which Andrew lived) forced Andrew and his family to leave the property, and they wrote him out of their wills, so that he was no longer set to inherit part of the farm and/or the farming business when they died.
Andrew sought to secure his home and his inheritance and therefore the judges in Guest had to consider whether Andrew should receive monetary compensation or, should he be entitled to receive what was promised to him, i.e., an inheritance of part of the farm and/or his family home?
Whilst there are legal complexities to the case, the judgment ultimately provided that if one party (the parents in this case) promised the other something, (Andrew), and the person who was made the promise, relied on it and acted to their detriment, which Andrew did, then his parents having made the promise would be required to fulfil it, unless it would be unfair or “unconscionable” for them to do so.
If you are in a similar situation to Andrew or his parents, and you would like to discuss your options with us. Please contact us for a free initial chat using the below details.
We are also able to advise in relation to wills, lifetime tax planning, probate work including administering estates, lasting power of attorneys, partnership and shareholders agreements and transfers of agricultural land and property.
Associate Solicitor – Denney King