FIVE REASONS WHY AN OWNER OR BROKER NEEDS TO INVOLVE A LAWYER WHEN SELLING A SUPERYACHT
Written by Nathan Bees | With thanks to Fenech & Fenech Advocates, Prof Dr Christoph Ph Schliessmann, Van Steenderen Mainport Lawyers, Credence Corporate & Advisory Services, Cox & Company Maritime and Aviation Law and Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates
Last updated: 28/05/2019
Selling a superyacht is a complicated, convoluted and stressful experience. It’s a time consuming process that is littered with curveballs, rarely goes according to plan and demands compromise – and a lot of it.
The financial windfall – and relief – that follows when the superyacht is finally sold makes the struggle worthwhile, but the selling process can be made a lot less painful if the owner or broker involves a superyacht lawyer.
With the help of Dr. Alison Vassallo of Fenech & Fenech Advocates, Prof Dr Christoph Ph Schliessmann, Van Steenderen Mainport Lawyers, Credence Corporate & Advisory Services, Cox & Company Maritime and Aviation Law and Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, Yachting Pages lists five key reasons why an owner or broker should definitely involve a specialist lawyer when selling a superyacht.
Specialist knowledge and experience
In an industry of big personalities and egos, business is notoriously difficult to complete. Negotiations can be laborious, there are complex terms and conditions to satisfy and everything needs to align at just the right time.
Factor in the other legalities involved in such big-money transactions and it becomes clear that the process is something of a minefield. Unless you have vast experience and knowledge of all of the above, it is not advisable to navigate the process without professional assistance.
Thankfully superyacht lawyers are experienced and knowledgeable – it’s their job to be well informed and adept at handling the hurdles that need to be overcome in such high-stakes deals.
Given how specialised the superyacht sector is, it is worthwhile from both a cost and a time perspective to lean on the expertise of a legal practitioner, who can ensure the sale and purchase agreement, together with any special terms and the document list, are drafted in such a manner so as to avoid any potential litigation.
Unconvinced? Just remember: A lawyer always represents your interests and is required to by law. Their job is not to please everyone or line their own pockets.
Identify the right buyer
It’s obviously vitally important to secure the right buyer for your superyacht; wasting time negotiating with parties who are not genuinely interested, buyers who cannot secure payment or mere browsers acting in bad faith have substantial implications on the seller.
Having a lawyer who can conduct the necessary due diligence and background checks will be able to assist in separating the serious buyers from those who should be avoided. Not only does this maximise resources but it also avoids wasting time.
Finance, tax and flag considerations
A superyacht lawyer can advise on all finance, tax and flag considerations that need to be addressed during a sale. Given that almost every superyacht operation exists in different legal environments and jurisdictions, it’s vital that someone with the relevant knowledge and skillset is responsible for dealing with it all appropriately.
A host of finance and flag registration documentation will need to be provided to a prospective buyer as evidence that everything is in order.
The involvement of a superyacht lawyer signifies that the seller is aware of their documentary obligations under the agreement and that all the necessary procedures are effected correctly and in a timely manner.
Taking care of paperwork
After concluding negotiations and shaking hands on the deal, the transaction is drawn up. Having a superyacht lawyer involved in the drafting goes beyond the signing of a mere reflection of what was agreed between the parties, and rather ensures that rights are protected and liabilities are clearly laid out.
When dealing with international parties, high-value assets and pressing time frames – with variables such as technical requirements and crew – having an all-encompassing legal document is pivotal.
In fact, the signing of a legally binding agreement has great implications on the parties, and it is of utmost importance to vet the document thoroughly. This also applies to any ancillary documentation to the transaction.
They’ve been there and done it… many times
Superyacht lawyers will have seen a lot. They have gone through the selling process a number of times and know what is required to navigate through a successful transaction.
They would concede that they haven’t seen it all, because in the superyacht industry you’ve never seen it all, but they will have experienced more than most and will be able to offer first-class support whenever a client needs it.
Their expertise can prove invaluable – so much so that it would be remiss not to involve a lawyer when selling a superyacht, right?