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COLBURN BUSINESS PARK
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BARNARD CASTLE, LEYBURN, STOKESLEY & BOROUGHBRIDGE
Residential Management Team
In agriculture, it is key that farmers have written agreements in place and take time to succession plan, to minimise any potential future risks to their businesses. Unfortunately, it is often the case that either the day to day operations take precedence or that the topic may be time sensitive and sidestepped.
In 2016, the NFU undertook a study which concluded that only 40% of UK farmers had had succession related discussions with business partners or the next generation, seeking professional advice to prepare an effective succession plan.
The remaining proportion of the sector confirmed they either avoided the matter or discussed plans without documenting decisions, leaving future intentions often based on assumptions or promises. These promises of an interest in land is known as Proprietary Estoppel.
Successful Proprietary Estoppel claims are based on three principle factors being proved:
This often happens when the older generation pass away without making clear written instructions advising those interested parties, before such an event occurs. However, family or business disputes can also occur, altering any undocumented decisions. This has been highlighted in the case Moore v Moore  where the claimant was awarded an equitable interest in his father’s property/business as a result of an un-kept promise.
The importance of having arrangements for occupation of land and or property accurately documented through licences, written tenancy agreements, partnership contracts and wills is fundamental to mitigate any possible disputes, and potential claims for Proprietary Estoppel.
If you would like us to provide recommendations on your situation, prepare agreements or would like advice on dispute resolution, then please contact GSC Grays.
[team-member name=”Helen Simpson”]