In Thompson v Thompson [2018] EWHC (Ch) the High Court considered whether a son, who was one of five siblings, had made out his case of proprietary estoppel and was entitled to the family farm and mother's share in the family farming partnership on her death.  

In this case the High Court held that the son was entitled to the entire family farm and his mother's partnership share on her death.  

The facts of the case are that son left school in 1979 and worked on his parent's farm 7 days a week with few holidays.  He was paid a maximum of £70 a week plus board and lodging.  From 1992, son and his parents each held a one third share under a farm partnership agreement.  Following the father's death, his share went to the mother.  From 2014 family relations deteriorated.  The son stopped working on the farm due to illness and was effectively excluded by his mother and sisters.  The mother wanted to distribute her partnership shares elsewhere.  

The High Court found the following:-

1. Both parents had made it clear that in return for son's work on the farm he would inherit it and his four sisters would share an insurance policy. 

2. The son had relied on those promises to his detriment.

3.  The son's equity had crystallised by 2014 when relationships deteriorated.

This is yet another proprietary estoppel claim from a farming family and the case highlights the importance of succession planning and open family discussions.