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Asset Protection Trusts - Approach with Caution!

Partner and Head of Wills & Estate Planning at Andrew & Co Solicitors Helen Newson writes about the dangers of asset protection trusts.  

It’s a sad reality that I have several cases on my desk of clients who, worried about paying for care fees in future, have been sold so-called ‘asset protection trusts' which may not have the effect they hoped for.

There are many firms around nowadays which call themselves law firms and which on the face of it appear to be professional and qualified. However, many of them are subject to little or no regulation and do not adhere to any code of professional conduct. Many people do not realise that it is possible to set up such a business without any formal qualifications or experience.

That is not to say that every non-solicitor will writer should be tarred with the same brush, or that no solicitor ever turns rogue. However, the increasing prevalence of unregulated firms and their sales tactics is a concern for solicitors who specialise in this field.

One of the latest such firms to make the headlines is Universal Wealth Preservation. The company used to hold seminars in the Lincolnshire area which appeared to be slick and professional.

The company charged thousands of pounds for one of their trusts which would supposedly save families having to pay for care home fees. However, for most people, the trusts would likely fall foul of local authority rules should they be challenged.

Very often, members of UWP would be appointed as trustees of these schemes and so would have to be involved in transactions such as selling the family home, for example.

I believe that Universal Wealth Preservation is no longer in business. Understandably, people are worried not only that their original documents may be stored by the firm, but also about who they may have appointed as their trustees.

If you have been affected by this, you should seek the advice of a properly qualified and experienced solicitor.  Members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the Elderly are aware of the issues involved and will be able to advise you.

At Andrew & Co Solicitors, we can assist you in retrieving your paperwork and can advise on the nature and effect of the arrangements you may have put into place. Subject to checking the detail, it is likely to be possible to remove the current trustees and appoint people of your choice instead.

I am a full member of the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the Elderly, a national association of lawyers who specialise in older client law.

To contact Andrew & Co for more information, call 01522 512123 (Lincoln office) or 01636 673743 (Newark office).

To contact the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, please visit https://www.step.org/

To contact Solicitors for the Elderly, please visit https://sfe.legal/