Have you been affected by the collapse of Universal Wealth Preservation?

What has happened?

The owners of Ipswich-based Universal Tax Solutions, Universal Wealth Preservation, Universal Asset Protection Ltd and Universal Trustees Ltd are being investigated by Suffolk Police, following their apparently fraudulent handling of families’ wealth and assets.

Universal Wealth Preservation (UWP) ran free seminars around the country entitled “Keep it in the family”. At these events, the company offered financial and legal advice on how clients could protect their assets from the tax man, and avoid expensive care home fees, by transferring the ownership of their homes and savings into trusts.

The idea was that by putting their home and other assets into a Trust run by UWP, they were no longer the legal owner, meaning that their local authority would then have to disregard these assets in assessing their fees if they needed long-term care. UWP or its owners, Mr and Mrs Long, were appointed as trustees of these trusts.

Those clients who signed up with the company often wrote wills, put Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place and created trusts in the belief that they were protecting their assets. Following the collapse of the company and intervention by the police, they are now finding that they are unable to access their money, or sell their homes. What’s more, it’s becoming apparent that clients were advised to structure their assets in ways that would be open to challenge, and would not achieve the desired results.
 

What are the issues?

There has been considerable fall-out following the collapse of UWP. As the company is being investigated by Suffolk Police, clients are finding that they are unable to access important documents such as wills and LPAs. Action Fraud report that more than 140 clients have contacted them about missing money.

In addition, the first indication that there’s a problem can come when someone formerly associated with the failed company contacts them offering to help them replace UWP as trustees.
 

How we can help

If you or a family member have used UWP to make wills or LPAs or to create a Trust, you will need to take independent legal advice as soon as possible, in order to take back control of your assets.

We are already acting on behalf of a client who has been affected by the collapse of UWP, and can help clients take the right steps to remove UWP as Trustees, recover assets, create new wills and LPAs, and restore land registry titles.

For advice on these issues please contact our Wills, Trusts & Probate team. If you have concerns relating to cash investments made with Universal Wealth Management, then please contact our Dispute Resolution team.

Further information can be found on the BBC news website.

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