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Staff were courteous and friendly and explained things clearly.
C.J. Saywell, Private Client
There is a common perception that solicitors and professional advice in general is expensive and quite often unnecessary.
Anybody thinking like that should look at the case of Shirt v Shirt.
Alan Shirt had worked on his mother’s and father’s farm, without proper wages, since the 1960’s and formed a farming partnership with them in 1974.
In 1986, he was told by his father that if he “worked for it” the whole of the farm would be his when his father passed away. As a consequence, Alan devoted the rest of his life to keeping the farm going.
When Alan’s father died, however, it transpired that he had made a will leaving his estate (including his share of the farm) to his 3 other children. Alan had been cut out in 2006 after the two had fallen out as a result of Alan’s attitude towards his father’s second wife.
Alan issued a claim of “proprietary estoppel” that he be entitled to the farm. Such a claim requires evidence that a person acted to their detriment in reliance on an assertion made by another. All the necessary relevant legal requirements for a successful claim appeared to be in place.
Nevertheless, Alan’s claim was refused. The Judges hearing the case commented “The parties are arguing about a conversation that took place 24 years before the trial” and went on to say that formal documents setting out ownership and arrangements “..exist for good reason – to prevent expensive disputes about half-remembered conversations”
Whilst many of us come to “informal” arrangements, especially with family and friends, this case highlights the importance of taking and acting upon good quality legal advice. Alan and his father could (and should) have obtained advice at the time of their agreement and had it confirmed in a deed of arrangement. The cost would have been relatively modest and would certainly pale into insignificance when compared with the costs which Alan will now undoubtedly face.
At Bell & Buxton solicitors we offer a comprehensive service for a wide range of personal and business needs, including the drafting of deeds and wills and complex trust, probate and business litigation.
If you require any advice or assistance or simply have questions on the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01142 495969 or by e-mail in the first instance to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bell & Buxton, Solicitors
Telegraph House, High Street, Sheffield, S1 2GA
Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Bell & Buxton is the trading name of Bell & Buxton LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered number OC322707, registered in England. A list of members is open to inspection at the above address.
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