Elderly people are being targeted by unregulated will-writing firms encouraging them to set up potentially damaging trusts that could see them lose control of all of their assets, a leading law firm has warned.
The firms are cold-calling older people or stopping them in the street and advising them to create a ‘Bespoke Asset Trust’ which, usually unknown to them, will mean they lose control of their own money.
People who follow this advice are usually charged a fee in the region of £2,000, which they are asked to pay before the work has been done on the day of the initial meeting at the client’s home.
Doncaster solicitors have reviewed some of the trust documents which these firms have produced and say that the charges appear to be three times higher than they should be for the work involved and the content of the documents could be potentially disastrous for the families involved.
Stephen Coates from Atteys Solicitors said: “We have been contacted by several people in the last week who have been ‘hooked’ by these firms and are now having second thoughts. The content of the documents are quite disturbing. It involves the person effectively giving away control of all of their assets and putting their bank accounts and all other money into trust. The implications of this could be disastrous for them and their family. It is unlikely that anyone would do this if they were fully aware of the effects and potential pitfalls.
“It appears that some of these firms are effectively exploiting people’s fear of losing their property and assets to future care home fees to encourage them to set up these trusts. It may be appropriate for some people to have trusts in place, but these are complex legal documents and should be handled by reputable, established firms.
“We would strongly advise anyone to ignore cold-callers or sales people in the street offering legal services,” added Mr Coates.