Finding a person or organisation who you can trust is central to how many people choose their professional advisors.
BBC Radio 4’s Money Box recently highlighted problems that arise when a person or organisation turn out to be not trustworthy. This episode focused on Universal Wealth Preservation, which was wound up earlier this year following a petition by HMRC.
Clients of the firm are reporting that they were advised to put their homes into a trust as a way to avoid care home fees and to ensure that their children inherited their assets. Part of putting property into a Trust meant, for many people, putting their property in the names of the trustees who were Universal Wealth Preservation. Clients are also reporting that they put a large portion of their life savings into similar schemes with Universal Wealth Preservation.
When clients became unable to contact Universal Wealth Preservation, they were concerned that their assets were unreachable. Various sources suggest that there are class actions contemplated against Universal Wealth Preservation.
One concern raised by consumers, and professionals, is the lack of regulation in the industry. There are no requirements for someone to set themselves up as a 'will writer' or 'inheritance tax planner'. Reform and regulation is welcomed by both the Law Society and the Society for Trusts and Estates Practitioners. As discussed in the programme, using a solicitor provides consumers with greater protection than going to an unregulated company - after all, solicitors are subject to regulation by the Law Society and recourse can be had to the Legal Ombudsmen.
You can listen to the episode here
If you are having difficulties with a Trust, or would like to discuss Inheritance Tax and care fee planning, contact our Private Client Team on 01865 244661.