In a recent farming dispute case, the court held that a £1.65m farm and bungalow were to be included in the deceased's estate, despite the fact that the deceased farmer was alleged to have transferred the farm and bungalow under a partnership agreement.
The farmer's son Gregory claimed that his father transferred the buildings into the family partnership business which was now dissolved - in which case it would all belong to Gregory. The defendants in this case, the deceased's other son Malcolm and his wife, had lived in the bungalow for decades and had invested significantly in the bungalow's renovation. The defendants argued that the farm and bungalow belonged to the deceased's Widow, Jean, because the farmer's Will specified the farm and bungalow as a gift to Jean and there was no proof of a previous transfer. Further, the defendants argued that they had a proprietary interest in the bungalow because of the renovations.
The court held in favour of the defendants holding that the farm and bungalow indeed passed to the farmer's widow Jean, (and that the defendants had a proprietary estoppel claim against the bungalow). A significant factor for the court was the fact that the partnership's account did not clearly refer to the farm and bungalow as part of the partnership assets, as there was inadequate paperwork.
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