High Value and Luxury Assets

Buying and Selling: Yachts and Super Yachts

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High Value and Luxury Assets >> Buying and Selling: Yachts and Super Yachts

The sale and purchase of a yacht can be extremely personal, as for many individuals, their yacht or super yacht (yachts longer than 24 metres) is one of their most treasured homes. And the idea of finally making that dream purchase and sailing around the Mediterranean or Caribbean is as much an emotional decision as it is financial.

Fortunately, Saracens Solicitors have wide-ranging expertise on the sale and purchase of one of these incredible assets and can help navigate the waters when it comes to the process, checks and the forms needed to trade or acquire one of these luxurious vessels.

Purchasing a Yacht – What You Need To Know

The purchase of an asset, whether it is a yacht or a home, ultimately comes down to the due diligence. Are you getting what you pay for? Is the yacht in good sailing condition? Does the seller need any third party consent to sell? Does the yacht comply with the relevant rules and regulations for a vessel of its size? These are all questions that we can help you answer through the due diligence process.

Aside from due diligence, members of our commercial team will advise you as to the legalities of the contract, pre-sale conditions which should be incorporated (such as commissioning a sea-trial and survey) and registration of the vessel.

Our team has expertise with the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA) Memorandum of Agreement which is the globally recognised purchase contract for yachts. However the type of contract can often vary depending on the circumstances of the parties and the contract they wish to use, whether it is a contract approved by MYBA, the Royal Yachting Association or an asset purchase agreement. Whichever the contract, it is not a case of simply printing off a template and adding terms. Careful amendments must be made to protect the present, as well as future position of the yacht owner.

Sailing Boat for Sale

When you sell a yacht or super yacht you have a legal obligation not to mislead the buyer and represent the vessel accurately. By instructing us at the beginning of the process, you can be assured there will be no ramifications when trading what is more often than not, a multi-million pound asset – we will ensure all the legal checks and balances are in place from the outset.

As the seller, you will also be expected to provide certain warranties under the Memorandum of Agreement, or any sale contract generally. These include providing assurance that the vessel has no debt or restriction attached to it, legal confirmation of the true owner of the boat and if you are a corporate entity, some form of personal guarantee and board approval.

We will also draft a comprehensive Bill of Sale and detail the Protocol of Delivery & Acceptance documents to ensure that ownership and any insurance transfers smoothly and efficiently.

None of this is worthwhile if the buyer backs out at the last minute, which is why we can also negotiate a deposit and exclusivity period that is fair – at the outset of the transaction – making sure you are protected in all circumstances.

Tax Planning

Given the whopping price tags applied to luxury yachts, tax planning is an essential element of any purchase. If you wish to sail in European waters you may end up paying Value Added Tax (VAT) and will need to ensure that the correct paperwork is on board at all times.

Our commercial team work alongside specialist tax advisors who can work ways of legally minimising and in some cases identifying exemptions to paying VAT. This may be extended to domestic and international tax obligations relating to any employees you may have in your service to manage and maintain your vessel.

Read our latest blog- “Stuck between a yacht and a hard place”- Guide to buying a yacht

Whether you are a buyer or seller, our expertise in acting in both circumstances allows our clients to be one step ahead of the process. If you are looking at purchasing or selling a yacht or super yacht then fill in our call back form and we will be in touch at your convenience. Alternatively, you can phone our London office on +44 (0) 20 3588 3500.

To talk about selling or purchasing a racehorse, please phone our London office on +44 (0) 20 3588 3500 to talk directly to one of our lawyers. Alternatively, you can request a call back and we will be in touch at a time convenient to you.

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