02 July 2019

Beware of unregulated advisers

This summer make sure you steer clear of ‘the unregulated advisor’. They target areas where they think people will retire to or enjoy living in later life - an affluent market town or a nice seaside community.

And then they hit their ‘sell hard’ making promises that the Trusts packages they sell will protect a person’s money or assets (that could well be their home) in the future, from things like residential or care home fees. But beware, as they will most likely be what we call ‘unregulated advisors’ and they are likely to leave people with very expensive bills for nothing at all!

So, who are unregulated advisors?

The clue is in the name – they purport to be professionals who are qualified to offer the right advice on a person or couple’s future and provide solutions that are best suited to them. The reality is that these people will often have very little or NO training at all, they are NOT solicitors and are NOT regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

What do they try to sell?

They will most likely try to sell an unnecessarily expensive Trust, informing people that if they transfer things like their home, among other assets, into such a Trust then they will be protected from any future demands – we all know the cost of residential care, with widely reported cases of older people’s savings and money from house sales being swallowed up. They prey on those fears.

Why are these people not to be trusted?

Quite simply, and there have been numerous cases across the country, these people are trying to sell a product and are not necessarily providing advice about what is best for you. The Trusts they sell are likely to be totally unsuitable for the buying individuals.

Let’s give you an example:

At a popular rural event in the region last year, an elderly couple were approached ‘on spec’ by an individual who turned out to be an unregulated advisor. They were told that if they put their house into a Trust, which would cost them £2,000 to do, their assets would be protected in the future. Unsure of the truth, the couple had the foresight to contact our Wilkin Chapman offices before signing on the dotted line. When one of our highly knowledgeable solicitors talked the situation through, it emerged that the package was completely useless – the couple had sufficient income to pay for any care fees so their house and other assets would have been safe anyway. They would have paid £2,000 for absolutely nothing.

How do they advertise their services?

They often advertise locally, put flyers in community areas or push leaflets through letter boxes inviting people to attend events at nearby venues. They may approach people on market days in towns, attend local community events or shows and even cold call people or knock on doors.

What is the right thing to do?

Do not be lured in by promises of protection by these people, if it seems too good to be true, it most likely will be. Always talk your future through with a trusted and reputable advisor. Our Wills, estates, tax and trust department at Wilkin Chapman is made up of highly qualified solicitors who are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, (STEP) with individuals who have vast experience in all elderly client issues. It will not cost you a fortune to do it right but contacting us could certainly save you one.

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