Court of Appeal Upholds Overturning of Unfair Will

When a Yorkshire farmer disinherited his son and left the whole of his estate to his daughter, the son challenged the will in court. The son had worked with his father for many years and contended that his father had promised that he would inherit his estate.

As well as the farm, the deceased owned other property and had £150,000 in cash, all of which was bequeathed to his daughter. The will empowered her to transfer the farm to her brother if she considered him to be capable of running it, and left that decision to her absolute discretion.

The farming activity had ceased some time ago, with the land being let out to a neighbouring farmer.

The argument turned on whether the promises made to the son and the contribution made by him to running the business were sufficient to justify his claim to the estate or whether, as his sister claimed, his accession to the farm was entirely at her discretion.

The High Court ruled that the son was entitled to the farmland, the farming assets (excluding cash) and a house in which to live. The other assets would belong to his sister.

The sister appealed the decision and the Court of Appeal has now upheld the original judgment.

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