- June 3, 2005 at 8:19 pm #51124
Mark recommends independent, English-speaking lawyers based in the region where the property to be acquired. Little or no mention is made of UK-based lawyers with specialist Spanish law departments/in-house Abogados. One of the selling points for these is that they understand the UK tax regime in a way that Spanish lawyers do not, that they are more tightly regulated and that they are easier to communicate with. I imagine that UK-based lawyers have Spanish-based associates to do some of the leg-work, though no doubt this adds to the cost. At least one offers an “economy” service which checks the work of the Spanish lawyer and advises on UK tax implications.
I would be interested to hear some views about which is best, including any experiences members have had (private replies if you wish to mention/recommend particular firms, please). For example, would it cost more to use specialist UK lawyers, and does their lack of local knowledge mean that they may not do as good a job?
- June 21, 2005 at 8:50 am #58413
I think you also have to look at in terms of what you are buying.
For instance when buying rural property it really is necessary to use a local lawyer. Many of the key issues that crop up time and time again with rural properties can only be sorted out by someone who can go in person to the town hall and who is very familiar with local issues. I certainly wouldn’t rely solely on a UK-based Spanish lawyer to buy a rural property. By the same token I wouldn’t rely solely on a UK-based lawyer to buy off-plan; too many local issues in play. UK-based lawyers might use a local associate to do some of the local work but it can be difficult to know whom they are using and how appropriate they are.
However if you are buying a city apartment or villa on an urbanisation where there are no planning issues to resolve, and where it is more or less a simple job of checking the nota simple and a few other things, then yes, this can be done adequately by a lawyer based in the UK. The problem is that many foreign buyers have no way of knowing ex ante if the purchase will be straightforward. There are ways to find out but that’s another story.
There is no doubt that some good local real estate lawyers may not have the necessary international fiscal knowledge to help you structure the purchase in the most tax efficient manner. In which case I would consider hiring an international fiscal expert and a local real estate lawyer and have them work together. Of course that will be more expensive but it might be worthwhile if you are buying an expensive property. It all depends upon your personal financial circumstances and how much you have to gain from spending money on fiscal optimisation. For some people the costs would exceed the benefits, whilst for others it would be the other way around. Generally speaking the wealthier you are the more it pays to spend money on tax expertise.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.