Posted in Family Law
The recent case of a Somerset woman who fell out with family members and ended up taking the case to court has received much publicity in legal circles.
Lucy Habberfield gave up most of her adult life to work on the family farm for little money with the promise of inheriting it when her father died.
She worked hard on the family’s Woodrow Farm, working up to 70 hours a week, but eventually she battled her mother in the courts before winning a £1.1million pay-out.
She argued at the High Court that her father Frank, who died in 2014 had promised her a significant stake in the farm for her help.
In the 1980s, after she finished school, the 50-year-old began working on the 220-acre farm near Yeovil, earning in the region of just £40 a week.
The court heard she built up its dairy herd, milking cows daily, and had just five weeks holiday in over 30 years.
In 1999, she married and stayed in the area, and her husband began helping out on the farm also.
However, this ended in 2013 when Lucy and her sister had a huge fallout, which has never been remedied. The couple resigned and family relations then took a turn for the worse.
Her mother, Jane Habberfield, claimed she and Frank, who was 84 when he died, had never promised her daughter that the farm would one day be hers.
It was an argument that ended in court, with the judge awarding Lucy a £1,170,000 stake in the farm as he deemed she had kept her side of the bargain.
The ruling is equal to the value of farmland and farm buildings, which were valued at £1,170,000 in 2017.
Sadly, this all would have been unnecessary with a Will that clearly detailed the way the parents wanted to provide for their family.
It is a case of rural life, but just as relevant here in London. Will solicitors in London sadly see many similar problems affecting families here in the capital and across the south east.
Making a will is an important necessity and ensures that one’s assets and belongings are distributed in accordance with one’s wishes after one’s passing.