By Jonathan Potter
One of the many strengths we have at TWM is the wide breadth of experience and advice we are able to offer. There are various circumstances in a property transaction where we can offer the added value of the input from another of our departments.
When buying a property in joint names (particularly by unmarried couples or buyers who are not in a relationship) our property teams can advise on and prepare a Declaration of Trust which will specify the owners’ respective interests in the property, and how the net sale proceeds would be divided in the event of a sale.
While a Declaration of Trust will cover the property itself, some couples may want to consider further protection of their other assets at this stage of their relationship. This may be by way of a Cohabitation Agreement or Pre-Nuptial Agreement (for unmarried couples), or a Post-Nuptial Agreement for those already married. Consideration of such financial arrangements is important, especially when one party is contributing significantly more than the other. Our Family team is able to advise on the suitability of such agreements and draft them to reflect the individual circumstances of each client.
With the forthcoming tax changes in the buy-to-let arena, it may be worth considering purchasing any investment properties in the name of a company, or transferring an existing portfolio to such company. There will be pros and cons and this may not be suitable for all. Our Tax specialists can advise further as to whether this would suit your circumstances, and if so, our Business Law team can deal with the incorporation of the company.
Whenever you buy a property, consideration should be given to Inheritance Tax planning. It may be prudent to structure a purchase in order to mitigate the potential Inheritance Tax implications on death, or to consider purchasing the property for a trust so that it would fall outside your estate on death. Equally, at this stage, it is sensible to review your Will to ensure that it still reflects your circumstances, or put one in place if you do not currently have one. Lasting Powers of Attorney are also important, to ensure that someone you nominate can deal with your assets for you should you be unable to do so, whether through age, injury or illness. These are issues on which our Private Client team can advise.
When buying a leasehold property, an important issue is the unexpired term of the lease. In some circumstances, it is necessary for a seller to commence a statutory procedure to extend the term, and for the buyer to continue the process after completion. This is a very technical area, and our specialist Enfranchisement team will be able to assist.
Our property teams will be pleased to discuss such issues with you, and (where applicable) refer you to our relevant colleagues to ensure you have the best all round advice on matters that may flow from your transaction.
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