Who is giving you wills and property advice?
'45,000 families every year are forced to sell their homes. Making a will is not enough! Find out how YOU can protect your home and savings from care fees, the taxman and many other threats.'
The above advertising has proved very tempting to many consumers. A firm based in East Anglia ran country wide seminars entitled 'Keep it in the Family' for members of the public. The company persuaded consumers to invest their money or place their home in a trust administered by the company with the promise that such action might avoid care home fees or decrease inheritance tax (IHT) liability. The company has recently closed down and some of the people running it are being investigated for fraud.
IHT is a tax on the estate (the property, money and possessions) of someone who has died. In recent years, more people have fallen into the IHT bracket due to the increase in property prices as IHT is calculated on the total value of the estate at the date of death.
The fear of paying care home fees along with the greater risk of falling within the scope of IHT has led many people to be persuaded by the marketing claims of so-called wealth management companies.
There are reputable companies in the market place, but consumers often cannot tell which company might be safe to use and which might not. For the unfortunate consumers who have handed over money to the East Anglian based firm, they might not be so lucky and many may have lost their life savings.
Consumers often fail to appreciate that the vast majority of elderly people do not need to go into a care home. In addition, it is not appreciated that a local authority can challenge an arrangement if it is shown that the only reason for gifting or transferring an asset was to avoid care home fees.
Solicitors are properly regulated to protect the public. Every firm must have indemnity insurance in place so that their clients can be compensated if they receive negligent advice from their solicitor.
Transferring your home and limiting tax or care home fees liability is a complex, specialist area of law and obtaining advice from a properly qualified professional could, quite literally, save you the roof over your head.
To discuss this or any other wills or trust related issue, contact us.