Another farming family dispute has hit the headlines in the last few weeks. The case of McDonald is a very recent Court of Appeal decision. So recent, the written judgment is still awaited!
The case involves Gary McDonald against the estate of his late father. The estate had been left in his father's will equally between Gary and his five siblings, each getting a 1/6 share of the estate which amounted to £1.6m.
Gary claimed his £1.6m share was not enough. Gary thought he deserved more than this as a result of the years of hard work he had put into his parents' farm in Newport. The basic argument put forward by Gary was that he had worked long hours, for low pay, on the promise it would all be his one day.
Gary's claim was rejected by a Judge in March and has now been rejected again by the Court of Appeal.
We eagerly await the full judgment but once again this case is a good example of the importance of trying to avoid these problems ever arising.
It is sensible for families to be open, transparent and consistent with each other when discussing plans for succession. Those plans should always be properly documented in wills and partnership agreements. Doing that helps avoid these types of claims that we are seeing more and more of.
'The repeated theme...was that Gary worked every free hour on the farms, whilst the siblings were not seen on the farms,' Mr Blohm said. And the work which Gary did for his parents over 27 years until his father's death had 'immense financial and personal consequences' for him and his family. He is a 'hard-working man' who, but for promises made by his parents, would have laboured for his own benefit in his own business, the QC added.