Here’s your essential GP retirement guide – from a property perspective
As a GP planning retirement; we understand that the process can seem daunting and time-consuming, especially when you are a property-owning partner in the GP practice.
As a GP planning retirement, you may be surprised to hear you should ideally start the process 15 – 20 years before your planned retirement date. Taking the time to plan early can make your retirement a less stressful and more straightforward process. Meaning that it becomes something to look forward to rather than dread!
With so many GPs considering early retirement, we thought it would be useful to provide you with this guide. Our guide covers the main areas to consider from a property perspective;
There are many GP practices currently exploring Sale and Leaseback as an option for easing retirement and solving recruitment issues.
By selling your surgery premises to an investor and then leasing it back from them, you can retire at a later date without the complications of selling your share. Moreover, recruiting new partners becomes easier as they no longer need to raise significant funds in order to buy into the practice.
A standard lease would normally be 15-20 years (approximately), providing you with the option of seeing out the full duration of your lease or taking retirement a number of years beforehand. Leaving a shorter time on the lease to commit to, which in turn should make it easier to find someone to replace you.
There is also then more flexibility when the lease comes to an end in terms of whether the current partners wish to sign up to a new lease for the existing premises or whether there is an opportunity to move to a more suitable building.
Whenever you decide is the right time to sell your premises, you will need to ensure that you get an accurate market valuation from a surveyor who specialises in valuing GP surgeries. This is important because the valuation of a GP surgery is different from the valuation of another commercial premises. The surveyor must have access to a significant number of comparable valuations in order to arrive at a fair price.
If you are selling to another GP who will be a property-owning partner, you must ensure that you speak to a solicitor. You should discuss amending your partnership agreement, updating the title deeds for the premises, the land registry information and the ‘Declaration of Trust’* etc. Moreover, it is important to speak to your mortgage company about releasing you from the mortgage.
If you are entering into a Sale and Leaseback agreement, your solicitor should add a clause to your lease which automatically amends your partnership agreement depending on current lease signatories.
Other Things to Consider
- Don’t forget to involve your;
– accountant from the outset due to the potential tax implications of selling your premises
– your pension provider who may take some time to enable your payments.
- You must update;
– the CQC, your Local Area Team
– NHS England (so they can update your GMS/PMS contract)
– your bank, insurance company and HMRC among others.
This is by no means meant as an exhaustive guide. We recommend that as a GP planning retirement you should speak to all of the professionals outlined in order to create your own retirement plan.
* Property is held by one person in their sole name but it has been bought for two people as their joint property to live in and both pay the mortgage jointly. The ‘Declaration of Trust’ will then ensure that the property proceeds would be divided equally between the parties upon sale.
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