Buying a home or property
A new home is one of life's most significant purchases, not just in terms of value, but also the potential stress, perhaps because of a difficult vendor, where the purchase depends on an associated sale or the myriad challenges in building a dream home from the ground up. Taking on additional property, be it a holiday home or a landed estate, whether for personal use or investment, is also a significant decision. Purchasing it for the next generation, possibly a city flat or an investment property, only adds to the importance.
Regardless of the type or purpose of a property, its purchase requires strategic and thoughtful legal advice. This starts with the transaction, from knowing exactly what is being bought, through comprehensive analysis of the legal and practical issues, everything from heritage property challenges or other planning restrictions, to dealing with tax liabilities, like capital gains tax and stamp duty land tax. Beyond the transaction, it is essential to make sure the property is properly integrated into a family's wider estate planning, thinking about appropriate holding structures and long-term protection for the family. From making an offer to putting the key in the door, there is a lot of work to do and our lawyers can help get it right.
How we can help
- Acting in the property or land transaction, from offer to completion
- Residential property finance advice
- Assisting with enfranchisement, the process by which a residential leaseholder extends a lease or purchases the freehold
- Advising on residential development and restructuring, including drafting and negotiating construction and planning documents
- Property management and alterations of tenancies
- Specialist advice on purchasing stately homes and country estates, including listed property
- Cross-border property transactions.
- Advising on how best to hold property, including the establishment of suitable structures
- Property tax advice, optimising allowances and reliefs and mitigating liabilities as part of an overarching tax plan
- Tax residence and domicile planning
- Assisting with property management, development and alterations to tenancies
- Advising on integration of property into wider estate planning.
- Acting in disputes related to property, including rights of way, service charges, nuisance and noise from neighbours, adverse possession (squatting) and between landlords and tenants
- Advising in inheritance and trust disputes relating to property.
Our Residential Property lawyers will take care of the property transaction process, whilst working alongside our Private Client team to ensure the purchase integrates into wider estate planning. Every property project is unique and we have specialist lawyers in planning, construction, rural and heritage property to advise on the issues that may arise.
Buying and collecting art
Collecting art is a deeply personal and expressive experience; in some cases, pieces become family heirlooms passing down the generations. The subjective and emotional nature of art requires specialist advice when it comes to investment, from professional valuers, art advisers and legal experts. Owners should protect themselves from risks, such as forgery, false provenance and theft, by conducting robust due diligence and putting appropriate insurance in place. Owning art is not limited to private enjoyment; collectors can make their works available for public display at national institutions or even use their pieces as collateral for borrowing. In addition to issues relating to import/export requirements and tax and regulatory obligations, decisions will need to be made on how a particular work of art should be held and how to put in place structures that will protect its value. Owning, inheriting and collecting art or historic property often comes with great responsibility to conserve and preserve it for future generations. Putting in place plans to safeguard a collection and taking advice on how to pass works of art to the next generation are essential.
How we can help
- Acting in loans, sales and purchases of pieces of art and heritage property
- Assisting with valuation, tax, provenance and transfer of title issues
- Creating a charitable entity for a collection of works
- Advice on tax and business structuring
- Negotiating auction transaction terms and conditions and ancillary contractual issues.
- Advice on the best way to own art and related tax planning
- Incorporating art into Wills and wider estate planning
- Import and export requirements and tax implications
- Regulatory obligations in both domestic and international markets
- Putting in place loan agreements between collectors and galleries
- Managing loans, gifts and bequests for philanthropic clients
- Using pre-eminent collections to meet tax liabilities, including the cultural gifts scheme and offers in lieu for inheritance tax.
- Advising on inheritance and divorce or dissolution considerations
- Acting in disputes arising on authenticity, title and breach of contract
- Negotiating early settlement of legal proceedings, with a view to minimising costs and unwanted publicity.
Forsters’ Art and Cultural Property Group draws upon a wealth of experience in art and cultural heritage property law to provide a comprehensive service for our clients, in both the domestic and international markets. From the commissioning of work, to its purchase, loan, sale and inheritance, we are uniquely placed to advise on all the legal aspects of the market in arts and antiquities.
Retirement marks a significant milestone in life; a time to reflect on the future of the family and typically a complete change in lifestyle, with a re-trained focus on personal interests, travel or living overseas. It can, of course, be nerve-wracking, particularly if it involves handing over control of a business and taking a step back from day to day business activities.
Retirement plans are best made well in advance, allowing time to properly consider and implement the most appropriate options in the circumstances. Handing over control or management of a business, agricultural land or other property, whether to business partners, family members or through a sale, is a challenging undertaking. Getting the fiscal, legal, commercial and emotional issues right requires careful and thoughtful planning.
With the luxury of more time, accumulated wealth can be spent and enjoyed; perhaps exploring further investment in property coupled with a move overseas, new business ventures or philanthropic endeavours. Reviewing estate planning generally, including lasting powers of attorney and advance decisions to mitigate the risk of losing mental or physical capacity in the future, can bring peace of mind, allowing the focus to be on enjoying family in retirement.
How we can help
- Advice on business succession
- Transferring ownership of property and other assets
- Advice on philanthropic endeavours, including establishment of a charitable entity
- Acting in the purchase of new property and other assets
- Advising on the tax, legal and familial implications of moving abroad or spending more time overseas.
- Developing plans to enable access to wealth during retirement, including means and methods for financial and asset distributions to other family members
- Reviewing Wills and other estate planning arrangements to ensure they are appropriate for changing circumstances
- Preparing lasting powers of attorney to deal with property and financial affairs, as well as health and welfare decisions.
- Advice on loss of mental capacity when no prior arrangements have been put in place, including applications for deputyship orders at the Court of Protection
- Stress-testing existing estate planning to mitigate future disputes
- Acting in potential succession disputes, including Court of Protection applications for a statutory Will, whether contested or uncontested
- Acting in disputes arising on transfers of business interests.
Moving overseas and travelling more
Individuals and their families are increasingly internationally mobile. Whether for work or pleasure, there are many reasons that drive people to spend more time overseas. Families may choose to split their time between homes in different countries, or changing circumstances may require a more permanent relocation to or from the UK. Amidst all the practical upheaval of relocation or more travel, it is essential not to lose sight of the extensive international legal and tax implications that will arise. Co-ordination of advice between the relevant jurisdictions is crucial; timely advice prior to a move, for example because of spending more time in a high tax jurisdiction, will ensure appropriate planning can be put in place. When someone is able to decide between different jurisdictions, it is important to make sure the legal and tax landscapes between the options are properly compared; some countries, for example, promote specific tax and investment policies as incentives to attract successful families. Any move must be made on a fully informed basis and this will include ensuring family estate planning is up to date and structured appropriately.
How we can help
- Advice on Tier 1 (Investor) Visa applications to reside in the UK
- Helping with business-centric immigration routes to the UK, such as Tier 2 Visas
- Looking at how best to move funds and assets to and from the UK
- Acting in purchases and sales of UK residential and commercial property
- Employment advice on overseas secondments
- Help with establishing a business in the UK.
- Pre-arrival tax planning
- UK tax residence and domicile planning
- Advice on UK taxation and its interaction with other jurisdictions
- Cross-border inheritance and estate planning
- Global asset structuring
- Analysis of an employment package to secure the best cross-border tax outcomes for bonuses, share incentives and good and bad leaver provisions
- Negotiating or updating pre and post-nuptial agreements to take into account relocation.
- Acting in cross-border divorce and separation matters
- Help resolving disagreements on relocating children abroad (or within the UK) after a separation
- Acting in cross-border trust and estate disputes.