New warning for south east Lincolnshire about trusts and will-writing fees
People in South Holland, Bourne and the Deepings are being warning against using unauthorised will-writing companies that charge higher fees than solicitors.
There are concerns that some companies are claiming that if a trust is set up to protect the value of your home, it cannot be used for a means test against care home fees.
However, this is not the case as there are limits to these products which are often called Property Protection Trust Wills or Asset Protection Trusts.
Louisa Harris, senior trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Residents should be really cautious about companies offering to set up a trust to protect their interest in their own 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 that they are regulated with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.”
Residents should be really cautious about companies offering to set up a trust to protect their interest in their own property as a way of avoiding care home fees
There are also concerns that some unregulated companies may not even be entitled to carry out this type of work.
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 if they have financial worries.
“All councils assess what someone should pay towards their care by looking at all of their financial circumstances, possibly including property in trust. “However, there are lots of ways to pay for your care and it doesn’t necessarily mean selling your home.
“For example, the Care Act introduced deferred payment agreements which means you may not have to sell your home to pay for care in your lifetime.”