Warning about using unregulated will writing companies

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Lincolnshire Trading Standards are warning county residents against using unregulated will writing companies to prepare wills, especially for property protection trust wills.

Some companies claim if a trust is set up to protect the value of your home, then it can’t be used for a means test against care home fees. This is not the case as there are limits to these products- often called ‘Property Protection Trust Wills’ or ‘Asset Protection Trusts’.

These types of companies tend to charge higher fees than regulated solicitors, and the companies concerned may not even be entitled to carry out this type of work.

Louisa Harris, Senior Trading Standards Officer at the county council, said: “Be really cautious about companies offering to set up a trust to protect your interest in your property, as a way of avoiding care home fees.

“Such trusts can be easily overturned and challenged legally, especially if care home fees are required soon after the trust has been created.

“If you doubt the legitimacy of any legal services you are being offered, check with the SRA that they are regulated.”

Pete Sidgwick, Assistant Director of Adult Care at the county council, said: “We don’t want people to be put off from seeking the care they need over financial worries.

“All councils assess what someone should pay towards their care by looking at all of their financial circumstances, and that could include property in trust. “However there are lots of ways to pay for your care and it doesn’t necessarily mean selling your home.

“The Care Act introduced deferred payment agreements which means you may not have to sell your home to pay for care in your lifetime.”

To check whether or not a solicitors is regulated visit www.sra.org.uk.