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Misplaced Trust – Don’t Get Conned

Don’t fall foul of the Asset Protection Trust scam.

Arranging Asset Protection Trust is something we frequently do at Wilson Browne Solicitors as part of our Managing Wealth & Assets service, particularly in relation to Care Funding.
A worrying development is an increase in the number of clients who have contacted us in response to an approach by a 3rd party to take out an Asset Protection Trust. Often the 3rd party is a new name to us and as such, an unknown. The approach entails the 3rd party selling an Asset Protection Trust to people, to protect their assets from being taken or diluted in order to pay for Care Funding (care home fees, at-home care etc)…..superficially at least, all absolutely legitimate.

That all seems well and good until we get to the matter of fees: typically £3000 – £6000…

…which is astronomical given that the cost should be in the region of £1200 plus VAT: that would be a typical level for the same (or superior) service from Wilson Browne Solicitors.

But they’re entitled to charge their own fee level surely? Well, yes…but the worrying thing is the sales patter that goes with the ‘advice’.

The companies concerned ‘warn’ clients that they shouldn’t see a solicitor as it will without fail, only cost them more. To compound the problem, the normal modus operandi entails a charming, persuasive and above all persistent salesperson seeing clients at home and encouraging them to sign-up to the schemes: this often includes preparing Wills and Powers of Attorney. If that’s not enough, there are follow-up phone calls putting further pressure on the client to ‘do the deal’.
Often, the advice that is provided is incorrect and clients are not clearly warned about the fact that these trusts are open to challenge (see deliberate deprivation) : as regulated solicitors, this is one of the first things we do (inform clients of the potential limitations of the Trust). Such salespeople/advisers rarely provide adequate tax advice either – in light of the recent inheritance tax changes this is a crucial omission.
The organisations peddling these schemes are often unregulated: as such they have no need to have indemnity insurance or to keep up to date with the latest developments and requirements. They also have no track record and frequently come and go in a short space of time.
In summary, these schemes should come with a warning to seek legal advice first! The benefits of seeking the right legal advice are clear:

  • You will be charged a fair rate for the job  – not (as these companies incorrectly assert) a higher price
  • A solicitor is regulated
  • A solicitor is indemnified (insured) in the unlikely event of an error
  • A solicitor is required to keep their knowledge up to date
  • A firm of solicitors such as Wilson Browne can trace its roots back nearly 200 years: not ‘here today, gone tomorrow.’

If you want genuine, fairly priced and above all, expert advice from a fully qualified, fully regulated solicitor then contact us today. An initial chat will cost you nothing and you can rest assured that we take the welfare of our clients seriously – it’s why we’ve been in business for nearly 200 years.