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Farming son who claimed that he was promised the farm

View profile for Caroline Dowding
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Farming son who claimed that he was promised the farm

Yet another farming case has made the headlines. Williams v Williams 2022 was heard in the High Court last month.


About the Williams v Williams case:


In this case, a challenge was made by one farming son who claimed that he was promised the farm by his parents and due to the farm being a "partnership asset" it passed to him rather than under the will (which made different provisions).


The farm consisted of approximately 145 acres owned and another 50 occupied and was run as a partnership under a written agreement prepared in 1985. This in itself is not uncommon as partnerships are extremely inheritance tax friendly.


Mrs Williams died in October 2013 and left her estate to her husband, who later died in 2018 at the age of 97.


As with all farming cases, the details are complex. However, in short, the partnership agreement did not confirm that the assets were partnership assets, despite further property being purchased in 1986 with a loan from AMC in the names of all of the partners and the farm accounts illustrating that they were regarded as partnership assets. 


Within the trial, it appeared that the assets were included within the account to “enhance the balance sheet value of the partnership“ so as to make it easier for the partners to apply for borrowing in the future, if it was ever needed, rather than the assets being true partnership assets.
It is sadly a case between farming and non-farming children and a dispute over the distribution of assets and conflicted provisions within a partnership agreement and later will. It cannot be stressed enough the importance of ensuring partnership agreements and wills are up-to-date and do not conflict with one another. 


When drawing up wills, consideration must be given to the long-term security of the farm but also balancing interests of the children or making specific provisions if this is not desired, is equally as important.


For further information and a free 15 minute discussion, please contact Caroline Dowding on 01206 217394 or caroline.dowding@birkettlong.co.uk

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