Contentious Estates: Proprietary Estoppel Claim Upheld by High Court

It is not uncommon for sons and daughters who work in their parents farming (or trading) business for fairly uncommercial rreward to be assured that ‘one day all this will be yours’.  The eventual reality often differs from those assurances as far as some of the children are concerned and estates become contentious.  A very recent case is Winter v Winter.

Here two sons established their proprietary estoppel claim to a one-third share each of their father’s farming partnership and company. An appeal against the award was brought by the third brother, on the grounds that the England and Wales High Court (EWHC) had concluded that the pair had suffered an ‘unquantifiable detriment’ without properly assessing it. However, the England and Wales Court of Appeal has now decided the EWHC had carried out the necessary evaluation (Winter v Winter, 2024 EWCA Civ 699).

The case report is concise and well worth reading for those with an interest in these matters.



Stephen Parnham