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Castle Battle

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A recent case in the courts has seen a baronet fighting with his son over the sale of the family home.

The baronet claimed that he was entitled to £1.5 million from the sale of the castle, which had been sold in 1994 for £2.5 million, having been in the family for nearly 400 years. The case was based on a Will that had been made in 1934, which stated that all heirs must change their surname to 'Howard' and use the family coat of arms within a year, in order to inherit the castle. Such clauses, also known as 'name and arms' clauses, were seen traditionally by landed families in order to keep the estate linked with the family name and coat of arms.

The Will came in to effect in 1961 and the baronet claimed that he had begun to use the name by 1962.The son claimed that his father had not done so, therefore should not have benefited from the sale.

After the High Court confirmed a valid inheritance, the case went to appeal and the decision was upheld.

The case is going to appeal at the Supreme Court and it remains to be seen if the High Court's decision will be upheld or overturned.

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The above is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.