A leaflet was posted through the door inviting me to attend a free seminar where I would learn how to protect all my assets from Care Home Fees and Inheritance Tax.
Being in this line of work, this offer interested me. I was curious about how the protection that was offered would be regulated and scrutinised, and whether if I took up their offer, I would have any protection from their mistakes. I am very conscious of all the checks and balances that operate to ensure that my own clients are protected, and of my own duty of care to act in my clients’ best interests.
I was also curious to know whether there would be anyone from the Local Authority there, taking notes, in order to provide ammunition when they challenge any resulting scheme. Disposing of assets into trust to avoid Care Fees is ineffective because it amounts to an unlawful deprivation of capital.
I have not attended the seminar. I have been consulted by a number of clients who have been to similar seminars, and anecdotal evidence suggests that there is little or no regulation of the schemes offered, nor insurance available, that there is little flexibility in the schemes proposed, and a negative view of solicitors’ costs.
I have been consulted by many people who had been sold complicated Wills or Trusts that do not suit them, do not do what they had been represented as covering, and had been charged thousands of pounds.
This type of roadshow concerns me, but the advertising has encouraged me to flaunt my own wares. I am duty bound to advise my clients correctly and to charge for my work fairly, providing detailed information at the outset. I am aware that each individual and each family has different circumstances and different desires. I have spent a number of years learning and researching, and as a matter of routine take part in discussions with my colleagues, weighing up and considering the variety of problems that families and individuals may come across. And if I make a mistake that causes loss to a client, I am covered by insurance.
So I give you an invitation of my own, if you want advice on Estate Planning, please come and see me for advice about the best legal solution to suit you. You will find that our fees are proportionate and competitive.