Sibling Disputes, back in the news

June 22, 2023

When it comes to inheritance battles, warring siblings are more often that not the prime culprits. Over the past year we have provided a plethora case studies and articles relating to disputes between brothers and sisters, when it comes to divvying up the estate. A commentary highlight was that of Richard Thomas, when he shared his views and experience of cases that have involved biological siblings.

In the news this week, and here reported by the Daily Mail we see two biological siblings that have been at odds since 2016, over the family farm based in Cheshire.

Cara Hough comments;


While the headline is clearly there to sensationalise the position, it is none the less sad to read that this family have been caught up in costly litigation since 2016.

It is long established in law that where genuine and definable promises are made by one person, which are then relied on by another to their detriment, that person can seek to enforce the original promise. These cases come with a high evidential burden, and tend only to come to light after the promisor has died, meaning the evidence of one of the key parties is no longer available. If the party alleging the promise is able to show the key elements in these claims, the level of award then becomes the discussion point – with the Courts recently fluctuating between a value judgment (i.e. how much effort in or loss did the person make/suffer) and an outright enforcement of the original promise.

More info on this type of dispute can be found here – Proprietary Estoppel, the facts.


This case further confirms Richard’s view in his earlier piece…

The majority of cases involving siblings come to us on the death of the second parent. This is usually because such cases often involve what one might call ‘traditional’ families: one parent dies first, leaving everything to the surviving parent, with the dispute then crystalising on the second death. Read the full article here