Life Interest

This is a Tail from the Manx farming community. It has been told for at least five generations, although that does not necessarily mean that it is true. 

In times long past, many of the farms on the Island came to be owned by the Manx lawyers. This came about in the following way.

Manx farmers were distrustful of lawyers and legal process. So they tended not to make a will until the end was near. 

When the lawyers were eventually summoned, they spoke to the old farmer and the conversation went like this:

“What do you want to happen to your farm and your other property after your death?”

“I want my son to have it.”

“So you want your son to have the farm for life?” 

“Yes, for life.”

So the lawyers’ instructions were that the son should have the farm for life. The old farmer had not mentioned his grandchildren or subsequent generations, had he?

The lawyers then drew up the will. Since he could not read or write, the old man would sign it with his mark or fingerprint. 

After his death the will was read. It gave his son a life interest in the farm, and on the son’s death it went to the lawyers. They would then either evict the grandchildren, or keep them on as tenants.


Chris Thorpe

Chris Thorpe is a respected independent lawyer in the upstream oil and gas industry, and an established lecturer and author. Chris has a LLB in law from Magdalene College, Cambridge and trained as a barrister in London. He worked for eight years' as an in-house lawyer for BP and Marathon. Since 1991, Chris has run his own upstream legal practice, CPTL, which has acted for many upstream clients. He has extensive experience of international upstream transactions, principally in the North Sea, the FSU, Africa and the Middle East. Chris has spoken at many UK and International Conferences and Seminars, both public and in-house. His most popular current lecture is Fundamental of Upstream Petroleum Agreements, a two-day course with accompanying book.