Why do I need a specialist solicitor if I'm selling my yacht?


So you have decided it is time to part with your yacht. It may be to realise the value tied up within it, or it may be to replace it with something a little different, but either way the aim of the exercise is to ensure you achieve the best price for your valuable asset.

As with the disposal of any valuable item, such as a house, there are many potential pitfalls. However, unlike the buying and selling of house, the trade in yachts and marine vessels is far less regulated, making the appointment of a specialist maritime solicitor to oversee the transaction and provide legal advice almost essential.

A key problem in yacht and boat transactions is the lack of formality. Very often, vessels are traded from enthusiast to enthusiast, or even between friends. Legal formalities can seem like an avoidable expense, with a hand shake often seen as enough to ensure fair play on both sides. However, just as you would not approach a house sale without a conveyancing solicitor, so you should not approach the selling of a yacht without a specialist maritime solicitor.

The case for legal advice is the same, whether you are selling a relatively modern vessel or a much older one. You should ensure that appropriate legal documentation is available for the buyer, and that your solicitor drafts the contract for sale. This will contain basic conditions designed to protect both you and the buyer in the event that funds do not materialise or the yacht develops a fault soon after the transaction has gone through. You may have owned it for years without issue but you can be sure that a few days after the sale a latent defect might show itself. ‘Buyer beware’ applies, but a proper contract for sale from a maritime solicitor can cover this eventuality and avoid costly court fees later on.

The buyer will be as wary, and should ask to see evidence that VAT was paid on the yacht when it was bought, and details of any mortgages secured against it. Your solicitor can prepare this information in advance of the transaction to ensure it all runs smoothly. It is small steps like these that can help make selling your yacht as easy as selling your car.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on the sale of a yacht, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local maritime solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local maritime solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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