24/02/2020

Dispute over £6 million farm inheritance | Wills and estates

Cows in a field

Crucial advice from Thursfields

Family members made promises as youngsters to inherit farm estates need specialist legal advice to help gather evidence crucial to their case, according to Thursfields Solicitors.

The advice from the leading Midlands law firm comes after a court heard how a farmer is being sued by his mother in a bitter court battle over the £6 million family estate he believes he was promised as a schoolboy.

Peter Horsford claims he gave up a normal childhood to agricultural labour after his parents assured him he would inherit the 540-acre farm in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

But his mother, Marian Horsford, is now demanding more than £2.5 million for her share in the estate, denying any such promises were made and insisting his labour was normal for a farm boy.

Katherine Ellis, a Senior Associate Solicitor at Thursfields’ Kidderminster office and an expert in the law surrounding contested estates, said: “These types of disputes involving ‘promises made’ often arise in farming families.

“Whilst in this instance, and rather unusually, the dispute has arisen whilst both parents are alive, all too frequently this occurs when both parents have passed away and the surviving family members are left to fight this out.

“When these situations arise it is imperative those who are on the receiving end of such promises seek legal advice as a priority, as a great deal of evidence gathering can be essential to establishing their case.”

Katherine Ellis, who before joining Thursfields worked in-house on legacy issues for a large national charity, added: “Thursfields has the skills and experience in farming and agricultural cases to help any individual follow the right steps to make a rightful claim to their promised inheritance.”

Jon Clifford, Head of Thursfields’ Agricultural and Rural Affairs department, added: “It is unfortunate that the family  did not seek practical legal advice before hand, as this may have prevented the matter getting as far as litigation.”

Anyone wanting to discuss a contested estates matter can contact Katherine Ellis on 0121 647 5419 or at kellis@thursfields.co.uk.

KATHERINE ELLIS colour

Katherine Ellis,

Senior Associate Solicitor, Dispute Resolution & Charities and Communities

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