Son Sues Father Over Broken Promise to Inherit £2M Chicken Farm

In a bitter High Court battle that highlights the perils of relying on verbal promises in family businesses, Kevin Renaut, 47, is suing his father, John, 67, over claims that he reneged on a promise to hand over ownership of the family’s £2 million free-range chicken farm in Norfolk. Kevin claims that he dedicated his life to working on the 50-hectare estate since the age of ten, based on repeated assurances that the lucrative business would become his upon his father’s retirement.

According to legal documents, the betrayal occurred in 2021 when John told Kevin that the farm would have already been his had he not sent a terse text message to family members in 2020. The documents also state that in April 2022, John said ‘nothing would be done until [Kevin] started getting on with the rest of the family and step-family’.

Kevin claims that he sacrificed more lucrative career opportunities to work tirelessly on the farm for minimal financial reward, acting as the heir apparent while his younger siblings pursued jobs elsewhere. He argues that his father has taken a much higher cut of the profits despite Kevin being a partner in the business, and that he put up with this control because he trusted his father’s promises that the farm would eventually be his.

The Renaut v Renaut case highlights the importance of documenting succession plans and promises made within family businesses. Relying on verbal assurances alone can lead to heartbreaking betrayals and costly legal disputes. This case is not an isolated incident. In recent years, there has been a rise in legal battles between parents and children over alleged promises made about inheriting family businesses or properties. These disputes often arise when verbal assurances are made over the course of many years, but no formal documentation exists to support the claims.

The lack of clear, written succession plans can tear families apart and jeopardise the future of the family business. It is crucial for family enterprises to have open, honest discussions about inheritance and to document these plans with the assistance of legal professionals to avoid costly disputes down the line.

At C-PAID, we understand the devastating impact of broken promises in family enterprises. Our experienced solicitors work diligently to resolve inheritance disputes through mediation or alternative dispute resolution whenever possible, prioritising our clients’ needs while respecting the family business.

If you have devoted years of your life to working in a family business based on assurances of future ownership or inheritance, only to find those promises betrayed, you may have grounds for a proprietary estoppel claim. To succeed, you must demonstrate that a promise was made, that you reasonably relied on that promise, and that you suffered detriment as a result.

Don’t let a broken promise rob you of your rightful inheritance. Phone C-PAID today at 0161 532 8111 or tell us about your situation by entering your details in our contact form for expert advice and guidance. Our specialist solicitors can assess your claim and pursue your case on a No Win, No Fee basis where appropriate, ensuring that you have access to justice without financial risk.

In the words of Kevin Renaut, “I do think it’s important that things should be more documented.” Don’t let a lack of documentation stand in the way of your future. If you’ve been wronged by a broken promise in a family business, take action now and contact C-PAID to protect your rights and secure your legacy.