Osborne Clarke and Burges Salmon were asked to think quickly and bring a speedy close to the sale of the 'fairytale' Tyntesfield Estate to the National Trust
The sale of the Grade 1-listed mansion, most of its contents and 539 acres of land - including parkland, cottages and a listed farm - was completed in just seven days from instruction to exchange of contracts. The Victorian house attracted a reported purchase price in excess of £20m. "The house went on the market in April, which was the earliest we could do it after Lord Wraxall's death last summer," said Mark Woodward of Osborne Clarke who, as the lord's long-time legal adviser, advised the estate's executors. "The tight deadline was driven by the fact that we didn't know if the buyer of the house would also buy the contents," he added. "So potentially we'd have had to get the contents sold off by winter, for which we'd need catalogues prepared by June." Meeting the strict timetable also involved obtaining a Schedule 3 body and confirming the tax-free status of the sale in under one week. The National Trust was advised by Burges Salmon, following its successful tender last year to be the trust's sole legal adviser in the western region. "We'd been advising it on agricultural matters for a number of years, and when it restructured its legal outsourcing, we won the tender for the western region," said property partner Alastair Morrison. The Osborne Clarke team was headed by tax and trust partner Woodward and property partner Robert Drewett. Burges Salmon's Morrison and tax partner Martin Mitchell led the team advising the National Trust.