At the unfortunate cost of consumer confidence in the Will Writing profession, eight people have been handed prison sentences for not advising clients correctly in relation to the use of an asset protection trust.
The individuals who set up organisations from 2012, were selling their clients packages which would protect their homes being sold to fund their care. Many of the packages sold have never been delivered despite the sales staff taking money during the visit.
As a result of the trusts people felt that they were ring-fencing their homes and that when they were assessed by the local authority for care this would not form part of their estate. The purpose of creating a trust for this purpose is deliberate deprivation.
The prison sentences received ranged from suspended sentences to up to four and a half years in prison. The more severe were in relation to unlawfully carrying out of the reserved legal activity of preparing trust documents.
The Society of Will Writers together with our training arm The College of Will Writing educate members on the importance of advising on trusts so as not to mislead clients and to put themselves at risk. After all, consumer protection is at the heart of what we do and we train on that basis.