Agricultural Land Left to Brother and Sister
just a quick question, my friend and his sister were left 70 acres of agricultural land and a farm house each, both in a state of disrepair. My friend, wanting to stay in his house decided to approach building firms in order to sell some of his land so he could do up his house. However upon telling his sister his plans, she said she didn’t want him to sell any of the agricultural land and that he couldn’t do so without her signature, thus preventing him doing so. My friends grandmother has the deeds and has always been awkward about him selling any land as she lives on the edge of this land and so would see any new building work.
Can my friend claim his share and do what he wants with it, i.e. partition the agricultural land as it was supposed to have been split 35 acres each, or does he have to be dictated to by his sister and struggle to pay bills etc and not make safe the house for him, his girlfriend and twin baby sons.
Probate Answer – Agricultural Land
There are several questions here.
1) What were the terms of the Will? It could be that the brothers were left a lifetime right to use the agricultural property rather than the freehold.
2) The agricultural land should be registered as it seems to have been transferred on the death – check it out at www.landregistry.gov.uk (could be in Trust though – see below.)
3) The fact that the grandfather holds the deeds should be irrelevant as the land should be registered.
4) I am not expert on agricultural land, we work with one of the UKs leading experts, but he does charge and doesn’t answer questions free, but if the land is owned jointly, and I’m not sure why it would be, it should be possible to sever the ownership to half each.
It is possible that the land is help on a long standing trust, as many farms are. The Land Registry entry would probably show this.
Agricultural Property Law is a complex area, which requires specialist advice, and the chances are we would need to involve a specialist agricultural land expert if we were called upon to deal with this situation, which is sadly probably not a quick question! But at least we have the expertise on hand to deal with agricultural land issues.