We are seeing increasing frequency in farming estates being the subject of claims concerning, amongst other things, boundary disputes. This apparent rise in adverse possession claims related to farming could be attributed to various factors. One possible reason is the increasing fragmentation of agricultural land, where smaller parcels of land change ownership more frequently. This can lead to a lack of proper maintenance and monitoring of boundaries, making it easier and more common for adverse possession claims to arise.
Additionally, farmers, through their farming activities may inadvertently or knowingly encroach upon adjacent properties over an extended period of time. If the encroachment meets the requirements for adverse possession, it can potentially lead to a claim for ownership of the encroached land.
To mitigate the risk of adverse possession claims in farming, there are some things landowners should prioritise. For example, regular property inspections, clearly mark boundaries, maintain accurate records, and address any encroachments promptly.
Contentious probate cases in farming families
Alongside adverse possession cases, disputes over inheritance and ownership of farms are common. With farms often run by families, legal documentation is not always thorough as it might be. Like in a recent case, where a son is suing his own parents about the ownership of a farm that they bought together. Their agreement about who would own what was never written down. In this case, the dispute has arisen while both parties are alive. However, it is not unusual for these disputes to arise on the death of a parent. Succession planning and formal agreements are vital – even in family business arrangements.
Levi Solicitors’ experienced team can provide guidance specific to farming operations and help protect landowners’ rights. Get in touch today on freephone 0800 988 7756 or fill in our contact form and we’ll call you back.
If you would like to discuss succession planning for farmers or other family businesses, make an appointment with our estate planning team.