The end of this month will mark seven years since my father died.He died leaving a mess of papers among which were several documents, both original and photocopied, which purported to be his last will and testament. It took around five years for us to discover that, contrary to the solicitors’ and barrister’s opinions, he had in fact died intestate. After much discussion, acrimony and demonstrations of outright greed, last year we finally reached the point where the end was in sight and we could look forward to settling the estate. The estate: I grew up on a small farm, about an acre in size, surrounded by open countryside. This farm is the whole of my father’s estate. Seven years of neglect and occupation by squatters have left the grounds overgrown, the farm buildings derelict and the house uninhabitable. Shame about the open countryside really; I enjoyed walking in it growing up but now I wish we’d lived in a small terrace somewhere, at least then we wouldn’t have needed to consider planning permission before selling it: “Whilst I acknowledge that there are a number of buildings located within the site, the site itself is located within the open countryside where new development is strictly controlled … Any planning application is therefore unlikely to be considered favourably.” I am waiting to hear from the solicitors what options remain, but I am having a hard time seeing a positive outcome. It is uninhabitable as it stands, but the house cannot be rebuilt and it would cost a small fortune to clear it well enough to be used as arable land. Who would want to buy it?