James Davies, 54, dedicated his life to the £1million business after father Tom promised him: ‘One day all this will be yours’. But after his death it was revealed his will stated the farm should be split equally between Mr Davies and his four younger siblings. It sparked a bitter family row over who should keep the estate, near Llandysul in west Wales.
Two of Mr Davies’ younger brothers, who were made executors of the will, said they wanted to carry out their father’s wishes by splitting the farm as he had intended. But a judge ruled it was right that the eldest son should keep the farm after a three-day hearing. Mr Davies said: ‘When your father tells you you’re having a farm you believe him. It was a tough life.’ He said that after being promised the farm by his parents he gave up his dream of becoming a policeman and went to agricultural college instead.
Port Talbot Justice Centre heard that Mr Davies and his wife Cindy, who live on the farm, hoped to leave it to their son to carry on the family farming tradition. The hearing was told that although Mr Davies Snr died in 1999, the will was suppressed for 13 years at the request of his wife Ellen. She was ‘not aware’ of any promise made to her eldest son. Judge Milwyn Jarman QC ruled that he could keep the farm as he had been promised it and his improvements had increased its value. He was also awarded legal costs of more than £68,000.
Mr Davies said he was relieved at the ruling but added that his relationship with his siblings would ‘take a long time to repair’.
The above is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.