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Succession and Ownership Structures

Once you have decided to acquire an asset such as a landed estate, the next decision is how you will own it.

This will have material consequences: for when you buy it; throughout your period of ownership; and when you pass it on to the next generation or sell it.

Tax is always a key consideration, the principal taxes being inheritance tax, capital gains tax, corporation tax (for a corporate vehicle) and, where English or Northern Irish land is involved, stamp duty land tax (equivalent taxes apply in Wales and Scotland). Inheritance tax and capital gains tax have changed significantly in recent years, especially in their application to international buyers, meaning that ownership structures which were appropriate a few years ago are no longer suitable.

We aim to understand your circumstances, aims and priorities in the short and long term, in the context of the particular asset you are buying as well as your wider estate. We then set out the options for you and all of their consequences (tax, succession, asset protection and so on) in clear and simple terms. This should include how you best approach any form of relationship dispute and incapacity in the family. We believe that the structure must be appropriate in practice and not just on paper; after all, you and your family may live on the estate for a considerable period of time.

Once the ownership structure is agreed we can prepare and implement a UK and, if required, international succession plan dealing with your worldwide assets. Part of this may include discussions about family governance, securing your assets for generations to come. Should disputes arise in the UK or abroad, our UK and international network of lawyers can advise and support you.

Our advice is not limited to typical assets such as UK land and property. We can advise in relation to specialist assets associated with landed estates such as art and valuable chattels. And should you wish to diversify into agricultural or other investments in the UK or abroad, then we can advise on appropriate ownership structures for these assets too.

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