Along with other solicitors up and down the country, we have recently been contacted by a number of extremely worried people who have transferred the ownership of assets including their homes and savings into trusts set up by a company called Universal Wealth Preservation (UWP).
This unregulated company, which ran seminars locally, is now uncontactable leaving many clients who thought they were taking steps to protect themselves against possible future care home fees and inheritance tax, unable to access their money or sell their own homes.
The BBC Radio 4 programme, Money Box Live, recently highlighted the alarming problems people are now encountering after setting up trusts with UWP as their professional trustees.
This leaves clients with major difficulties when they either want to access their money or sell their home as the trustees, who are now the legal owners and must give their permission, are nowhere to be found.
What can you do?
Firstly, if you are concerned about this type of trust, it’s vital to take independent legal advice.
You can then begin steps to remove Universal Wealth Preservation, which may have operated several different trust companies, as the trustees and give you back control of your assets and home.
Things do get more complicated if the trust was set up by someone who has now died but Wards Solicitors is still able to help and can provide the expertise to resolve the problems for you.
Although the police are now investigating Universal Wealth Preservation, it seems that the first some clients hear of a problem is when someone contacts them out of the blue offering to sort out the issue with the UWP trustees for a fee.
It is thought that at least two of these companies have been set up by former Universal Wealth staff members so care should be taken when deciding on the next course of action and independent legal advice sought.
Please contact Wards Solicitors’ specialist trust advisers, Mary Harty or Catherine Cowan, on 0117 9292811 so that they can properly assess your UWP trusts and tell you what your options are.
Wards Solicitors remains open for business during the national lockdown and we are taking on new cases. We are available for video call and telephone meetings but cannot currently offer face to face meetings with clients except in some specific emergency situations and at court hearings.
How to get in touch:
A list of our 12 branches is available here. Our telephones lines are operating as normal behind closed doors.
Important Warning: Cyber-crime is very common including email interception. We will never tell you of changes to our bank details by email. Please be aware that we accept no responsibility if you transfer money to a bank account which is not ours. If you receive an email giving our bank account details, please telephone us immediately without replying to the email or sending money.