Unhappy families: 10 farms, 2 brothers and no trust

Legal tips and updates by Rose Attorneys, Cape Town www.roseattorneys.co.za

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Mr RG senior was a successful farmer in his lifetime. Before his death in 2007, he transferred 9 farms into trusts, on the advice of his accountant son, RG junior. A 10th farm was transferred to a testamentary trust on his death. His widow and two sons (RG junior and FG, a farmer) were trustees and/or beneficiaries of the 4 farming trusts.

FG ran operations on the farms, and RG junior kept the books. Unfortunately, his sons entered into a bitter dispute concerning the family farms, the latest chapter of which culminated in the handing down in Pretoria last week of a High Court judgment.

The brothers had previously attempted to agree upon the division of the trust property, in order for there to be a clean break between them. However they could not reach agreement on the terms of the division. The trust deeds required unanimous agreement in order for…

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