Taking the heat out of farm inheritance claims

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Farm inheritance claims are increasingly common. We are regularly consulted by members of farming families who feel they have missed out when the family farm has been left to someone else.

Fortunately most farm inheritance claims can be resolved without acrimony, but feelings do often run high and in one recent case it has led to a man being jailed for 18 months.

The offence arose in respect of a dispute concerning a family farm. The court heard that the man made a death threat to his aunt. Making the motion of running a knife across his own throat, he told his aunt to ensure the farm was immediately signed over:

“Sign the farm over by tomorrow or you will have to be killed. There is no other way out.”

His defending lawyer said the man’s behaviour was due to a misplaced sense of loyalty to other family members and he was frustrated that inheritance matters had not been sorted out.

In our experience farm inheritance claims and disputes involving farming families often benefit from mediation. Mediation is an informal alternative to court proceedings and if used effectively it can defuse tense situations and take the heat out of family disputes.

Mediation isn’t compulsory, yet, but there have been reports that warring parties will be required to give it a go before turning to litigation.

Another benefit of mediation is that it is considerably cheaper than court proceedings, where legal costs can quickly escalate as a case hurtles towards a court hearing.

So if you are looking to bring a farm inheritance claim, or defending a challenge to a Will then give us a call. We will be happy to provide an initial assessment free of charge and consider whether mediation is likely to be a viable option.

Call us on 0808 139 1606 or email us at [email protected]