Proprietary estoppel claims against trustees

Nick Palmer4

Successful proprietary estoppel claims are occurring more and more often. Such a claim may arise if someone (person A) acts to their detriment in reliance on a promise from someone else (person B) which person B does not then carry out. Person A can sue person B (or B’s estate) for an equitable remedy. A typical scenario may be a farmer’s son who works for no wage, or a low wage, in expectation that the farm will ‘one day be yours’, except that the farmer does not get round to making his Will.

A recent case (Preedy v Dunne) has found that a claim against trustees, however, will not succeed where the beneficiaries have neither ratified nor acquiesced to the promise. In this particular instance, the claim also failed on other grounds, but this case shows there are limits to the circumstances in which a claim may succeed.

Nick Palmer is a solicitor in the Private Client team at Barker Gotelee.

Solicitors Ipswich Suffolk – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email