Appeal dismissed in farming family inheritance feud

A dairy farmer’s son who took his parents to court over an inheritance dispute will keep the money he won after their appeal was dismissed.

Andrew Guest won a High Court trial last year after his parents, David and Josephine, went back on promises they had made to him that he would inherit a substantial share of the family farm, in Sedbury, Monmouthsire.

Mr Guest worked on the farm for 32 years after leaving school aged 16. He often worked 60-80 hours a week, typically starting at 5.30am each day to milk the cows.

When he fell out with his parents in 2015, he was asked to find another job, move his family out of the farm’s cottage and was disinherited completely.

See also: Dairy farmer’s son awarded £2.7m over inheritance feud

The High Court found it would be unconscionable to allow his parents to go back on their promises and the Court of Appeal has now upheld that decision.

Clear injustice

Polly Ridgway, of Clarke Willmott, who represented Mr Guest, said the measures his parents took were designed to leave him “with no home, no job, no savings, and no pension, despite a lifetime’s worth of work”.

She added: “Thankfully, the court was prepared to use its powers to prevent this clear injustice and, as a result, Andrew will now, in effect, receive his inheritance during his parents’ lifetimes.”

Significant decision

David and Josephine Guest were granted permission to appeal solely on the question of what sum of money or other remedy they should pay their son as a result of their conduct.

The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s award, believed to be about £1.3m. This was based on 50% of the value of the dairy business and 40% of the freehold value of the land and buildings.

Daniel Gill, who also represented Mr Guest, said the appeal outcome was a “significant decision” in this area of law.

“The case also highlights the need for those involved in or contemplating bringing inheritance disputes to get expert legal advice as soon as possible so as to avoid the situation Andrew’s parents now find themselves in; having to sell the family farm in order to correct their own unconscionable decisions,” Mr Gill said.