Clive Shaw has taken his ageing parents to court, bringing a propriety estoppel claim against them after discovering they had written him out of their Wills.

He claims that he worked on his parent's dairy farm for most of his life, from the age of seven, and that his parents promised him that one day the farm would be his. However, his mother took issue with his partner, Lesley Hollis, calling her a “gold-digger” after a family argument during Christmas in 2016.  His parents also claimed that he had not worked hard enough on the farm and would keep away from the farm when the father was working with the herd as Clive Shaw didn’t like cows – referring to them as “stinking, horrible, rotten creatures”. 

Clive’s barrister told the court that Clive Shaw had carried out “arduous” work on the farm for very little pay on the understanding that he would inherit the farm after his parents died. The barrister added, “He cannot go back and have his life again. He should therefore be entitled to the farm and the farmhouse.” The parents, the barrister added, should have the “right to live in the farmhouse rent-free” for the remainder of their lives.

The barrister for the parents said that they were disappointed that Clive had not shown “the hoped-for interest in farming and never worked on the farm to the extent he now claims” and that Clive had depended greatly on his parents for financial and other support during his adult life.

Clive stopped carrying out farming work and now runs an unconnected business on the land. He lives with his partner in a caravan on the farm.

The Judge has reserved his decision until a later date, yet to be confirmed.

What is propriety estoppel?

Propriety estoppel is a claim that a testator, when making a new Will or amending an existing one, reneged on a promise made to a potential beneficiary that they would inherit part or all of the testator’s estate. Estoppel requires the disappointed beneficiary to rely on the promise to their detriment.

Oratto probate solicitors have experience in advising on propriety estoppel claims and defending against one.  Contact us today on 0845 3883765 or use our online contact form, and we will connect you to the best lawyer for your situation.



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