...Jessica Booz, Senior Associate at Veale Wasbrough Vizards, takes the opportunity to look back over the year and round up a few favourite Family Business Law Brief articles from the last 12 months.
Succession planning: Davies v Davies
In July, we looked at the Court of Appeal's decision in Davies v Davies, a sad case surrounding a farming family and what can happen when the court becomes involved in family disputes.
In this case, a daughter worked on her parents' farm for nearly 30 years. Her parents made various promises to her that she would one day have the farm, and that she could live in the farmhouse for the rest of her life. When relationships broke down and the case went to court, the parents were not compelled to give her the farm, or even to grant her a reversionary interest after their deaths.
Instead, the court decided that the daughter should be awarded a financial sum which reflected the detriment she had suffered. Taking into account a number of factors, including the value of the farm, the court awarded Ms Davies the sum of £1.3 million.
Succession top tips
The case emphasises the importance of honest and open discussions around succession planning, and in September we published our 6 top tips for family business succession planning.
Protecting the family business name
In October, Paula Williams, an intellectual property solicitor and Registered Trade Mark Attorney, considered some of the issues that can arise when your family name s your business name, and what you can do to protect them.
Paula concluded that the most effective way of protecting a family business' name is to register it as a trademark. She also recommended periodic internet searches to check whether a name is being used by other businesses in the same market. As with all intellectual property matters, you should seek specialist advice as soon as you become aware of any issues.