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How to lose your home? Litigate unreasonably. That is the message from the Court of Appeal:

A judge has blamed an 82-year-old farmer for a “sad” and “ruinously expensive” legal battle that has resulted in the grandmother having to leave her £2.5 million home.

Jane Habberfield has found herself in a situation of “her own making”, an appeal judge said yesterday after he ruled in favour of her daughter in a bitter inheritance dispute.

The court was hearing an appeal against a ruling last year in which Mr Justice Birss found that the parents had promised Lucy Habberfield that the family dairy farm would be bequeathed to her. Lawyers for the daughter said that she had spent three decades on the farm on the basis of their assurances, routinely working 80-hour weeks, even while pregnant.

She said her parents had promised that she would be given the farm and Mr Justice Birss ordered her mother to pay £1.1 million to compensate for her devotion to the family holding and its dairy herd.

The mother appealed against that ruling but today yesterday the Court of Appeal dismissed her case. Lord Justice Lewison acknowledged that the mother could be “turned out of her home” as a result of losing the “ruinously expensive litigation”.

This case is a stark illustration of the results of costly litigation about a will or inheritance. Much better to mediate. #mediate #mediation #disputedwill