Caribbean Property Lawyers
We offer a specialised service, assisting people in the UK who have property related business in the Caribbean.
As well as our office in London, we have long established partnerships in the Caribbean with professionals who bring both in depth knowledge and experience to our relationships, in order to best serve our clients both in the UK and this part of the world.
Buying and Selling
Here are some typical costs you need to budget for when undertaking transactions in the Caribbean (Jamaica).
- Stamp Duty this currently stands at $5,000 on any purchase. Unlike in the UK where it is paid by the buyer, in most Caribbean transactions it is shared equally between the buyer and seller.
- Transfer tax charged at 2%, which is payable by the seller.
- Land Registration another payment to the Government; charged at 0.5% and shared between buyer and seller.
- Survey and Valuation Allow around $JA 120, 000 for these two tasks.
- Realtors (Estate Agents) Typical charges are 5% of the sale price, plus GCT (sales tax) of 17.5%.
- Legal Fees Please contact our office for a quote.
Never allow someone else to live in your property without a written agreement.
We can set up a binding agreement for you with the minimum of fuss, so that there can be no argument about how long the agreement was mean to last or what was to happen about utility bills-to give just two examples of situations which frequently lead to disputes.
We can also arrange for the management of your Caribbean property.
Depending on your requirements, this could involve regular visits to check that all is in order, collection of rent, cleaning, and/or supervision of building work. Please discuss what you need with us.
Some of these activities may not be carried out by our own employees, but by associated companies, with who we have established trusted partnerships.
It is normally necessary to obtain a court order before someone can be evicted from your property.
We can handle the entire process, from giving the correct type of notice, arranging a court hearing, instructing a bailiff and securing the property.
Do you or you family have land that isn’t registered with the Titles Office?
Perhaps a plot has been handed down the generations with no paperwork, or one where the paperwork is unclear.
If you do not have a government backed REGISTERED TITLE you cannot sell or sub-divide, and you are at risk from squatters or neighbour encroaching on your land and getting a Title instead of you!
We can help. Please contact us.
What you need to begin
- Any deeds or documents showing how the land came to your family
- A survey digram
- Proof that the property taxes have been paid up-to-date
- details of at least two people who know that land and and its history
- Our help and advice
Make a Will …
Everyone should make a will – and review it every so often as personal circumstances change .
Compared with the cost of the arguments, unnecessary tax, and personal upset that can be caused by not having one, the price of doing things properly is trivial.
But don’t make two!
Many people think that they must make one Will for their property in England, and another for what they have in the Caribbean. It isn’t so – and it can end up having the opposite effect to what was intended.
If you have already done this, please give us a call and have us review both Wills, to see how the interact with each other.
You can make a Will in the UK that deals with your property in the Caribbean, and will be accepted as valid by all the government authorities there – you do not have to travel to do this.
Please call or email us to find out more.
Inheritance and Probate
When someone dies, The Government – in the UK or the Caribbean, sometimes both – will need to check who is entitled to take over the deceased persons’ land and other property.
Usually there will be some tax to pay. Until the correct paperwork is completed and any tax paid, property, investments or bank accounts cannot be transferred to the people to whom they were left.
Sorting out the paperwork for all this is called ‘Getting a grant of probate’.
Who’s job is it?
If there is a Will, this should say who is to be responsible for gathering the assets and paying out the legacies -this person is called the ‘Executor’. There will often be more than one person in this role.
If there is no Will, then it is the responsibility of the deceased’s closest relatives. There is a set order to which relative is entitled to do this: starting, usually with the wife or husband, or if there is none, then the children, and so on. The eldest children do not have any automatic rights.
What you will need.
To get started, gather together as much paperwork about the deceased’s finances as you can find, like recent bank statements and letters from insurance or pension companies. If they owned land, look for the Title. If they made a Will, find that, or a photocopy.
Don’t worry if you can’t find all of these documents. We can help.
Then call or email us and we can take it from there.
- Probate fees are between 5-10%