Farmer's daughter sues for slice of farm

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Eirian Davies, a 45-year-old farmer's daughter, is suing her parents for a slice of the family dairy farm - as a bitter family feud reaches the Court of Appeal.

She says she slaved away on the farm for 25 years - in return for the promise that one day it would all he hers - only to have it all taken away from her after a row in 2012.

According to the Daily Mail, Davies says she was expected to do all the work around the farm in Dyfed, Wales, while her siblings were allowed to go out and enjoy life. She was paid a tiny wage, and when she complained about the little money she had to live on, her parents would tell her not to 'kill the goose that laid the golden egg.'

The Telegraph reported that her understanding was that after putting in the years of drudgery she would go on to inherit the £7 million farm and its pedigree Holstein cows. However, she fell out with her mother Mary (76) and father Tegwyn (75) in 2012, was told to leave the farm, and was written out of the will.

She initially took her parents to court for her inheritance and the court ruled that she had a right to a slice of the farm. However, her parents are appealing the decision.

They say that she was paid for her work over the years, as well as receiving bed and board, and that between 1989 and 2008 she spent periods living away from the farm after falling out with her parents.

They added that when she sought work elsewhere in 2006 she was only paid £5,000 as a consultant for Slimming World - so she couldn't command a huge income.

Dangerous

It's difficult to know what goes on in any family and what promises were made. We will have to wait for the decision of the court. However, it goes to show how dangerous it can be to rely on an inheritance.

A recent survey by Skipton Building Society found that a fifth of people are counting on their parent's inheritance to pay their debts, while another fifth hope to use it to buy their own home, and 15% plan to use it to put their own children through university. Alarmingly, a fifth hope their inheritance will cover all their needs in old age - so have shelved all financial plans for the future as a result.

However, the research showed that 49% of parents have been dipping into their inheritance in order to pay the bills, and almost 50% had considered themselves to have given their children their inheritance while they were alive. It means there will be an awful lot of disappointed people.

Not the first

And tragically, the courts are only too familiar with what happens when someone is relying on an inheritance.

Last February we reported on the three adult children who fell out over their mother's £200,000 will. The subsequent legal battle cost them all far more than the value of the estate. The judge spoke out at the damage the family had done to one another

In 2012 it was the family of turkey magnate Bernard Matthews at war over his will. He said in his will that he wanted his £12 million St Tropez villa to go to his long-term mistress. One of his sons agreed, but the three other children went to court and his mistress was denied the right to stay in her home.

And things can get even uglier. Last June an electrician from Cardiff attacked his £300,000 home with a sledgehammer, causing £126,000 of damage, after he learned that his father had left the property to his brother. The electrician had done expensive work on the house and lived there for two years after his father's death, and when he was handed an eviction notice, he set about the place with the sledgehammer. He pleaded guilty to criminal damage

Seven retirement nightmares

Seven retirement nightmares