Can my husband's parents leave him out of the will after he's worked the farm for 10 years?
Solicitor Deirdre Flynn tackles this delicate issue
Dear Deirdre, my husband has been farming the family farm for 10 years and has paid his parents rent money on the land. All the animals are in his name and the land they own. What I would like to know is where do we stand if his parents give the land to anybody else and we get none? He won't talk to his parents and they are strong willed people but I'm very worried for myself and my husband's future.
Lack of communication within a family, particularly a farming family, unfortunately can cause unnecessary worry and trouble. To establish where you and your husband stand, it would be useful to know firstly how the land is actually held and secondly, if your parents in law have made wills.
If the land is held in the sole name of one of your parents in law, then it will either devolve according to their will if they have one, or if they have not made a will, then two thirds will go their spouse and the remaining one third will be shared between your husband and his siblings.
If the land is in the joint names of your parents in law, then it will automatically pass to the survivor of them and their will then dictates who the ultimate owner of the land will be.
If the survivor of them does not have a will, then it will pass according to the rules of intestacy and your husband and his siblings will all be entitled to an equal share of the land. Your Solicitor would be able to carry out a search in the Land Registry to ascertain how exactly the property is held.
You say your husband owns the animals, but what is the position regarding the entitlements, plant and machinery? They would also be important to consider.