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Universal Wealth Preservation (“UWP”) was a commercial organisation whose business model was charging people to set up trusts of which UWP were trustees. The clients then transferred their homes into those trusts, with the aim of protecting them from care fees. This meant transferring the properties into the name of UWP whose authority was therefore required before the relevant property could be sold or mortgaged. Ultimately UWP would be able to charge further fees when the clients died and their properties were sold.
UWP have now gone into liquidation and while there is no suggestion that they have misused any of the properties over which they had control, the fact is that their clients are in limbo and unable to deal with their own houses since there is no-one with legal authority to do so.
The UWP documents which we have seen allowed the clients to remove UWP as trustees and appoint someone else of their own choice (or themselves) instead. A formal deed is required which we can prepare. So although the situation is worrying it is not by any means catastrophic. If you are in this position, please get in touch since we will be able to help you resolve it.
It is impossible not to feel sorry for the clients of UWP, who were charged several thousand pounds and are now suffering real worry in return for “protection” which probably never existed. Local authorities can challenge transfers of property made for the specific purposes of avoiding care fees, which these were. In addition, UWP were completely unregulated so that there is no safety net now. By contrast, solicitors are regulated both legally and financially and the Law Society has a compensation fund to reimburse clients who suffer loss.
The reality is that UWP were no cheaper than solicitors but offered a worse service. Not all solicitors can deal with trusts or advise on care fees but if you have concerns in these areas you should look for solicitors who are members of Solicitors for the Elderly or The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. At Myerson we have these qualifications and can give you solid and reliable advice.