Father’s promises to entitle his son to £10 Million Farm.
31st October 2016 by Rob Kelly
Promises that are freely made and relied upon can have the force of a contract and are capable of being enforced in court. That is what happened in Moore v Moore and anor  EWHC 2202 (Ch) in which a which a Deputy High Court judge held that a son was assured repeatedly by his father that he would inherit the £10 million family farm and worked long hours for low pay in the belief that the promises would be honoured.
The judge found that the father had on several occasions told his son that the farm would one day be his. In reliance on those representations, the son had thrown himself into working on the farm from a young age. He took no expensive holidays, lived a frugal life with his family in a bungalow on the farm and earned less than £300 a week for many years.
While suffering with the effects of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the father changed his will and disinherited his son of the farm but the High Court found that the son had truly believed, and had been encouraged by his father to believe, that he would inherit the farm. In reliance on his father’s promises, the son had acted to his detriment by devoting his entire working life to the farm for meagre financial rewards.
The court ordered that the farming partnership between the father and son be dissolved because of the father’s ill health. The father’s share of the farm and the farming business were transferred to the son but subject to his parents’ entitlement to live in the farmhouse, and to draw an income from the business, for as long as they need. The court noted that that outcome would enable the land to be farmed by the next generation of the family as the father had always intended.
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