Families urged to steer clear of unregulated advice

Families urged to steer clear of unregulated advice

British families are being urged to steer clear of unregulated advice in relation to Inheritance Tax (IHT) and care home fees, amid concerns that non-professional advisers are increasingly encouraging Britons to partake in ‘risky’ schemes.

A report in The Telegraph suggests that unregulated advisers will often skip over the finer details of these complex matters in “high pressure” seminars geared towards getting individuals to place their family homes into a trust for a hefty fee.

Arrangements that place residential properties into a trust upon the death of a homeowner are indeed common in the UK.

However, such arrangements are usually drawn-up after death, as opposed to during an individual’s lifetime, experts are warning.

Despite this, unregulated advisers are reportedly targeting people who wish to protect their wealth by promising that placing their property into such a trust will prevent them from having to pay care fees later in life.

This sounds like an attractive prospect – particularly as average nursing home fees in the UK currently exceed £1,000 a week.

However, legal experts are rightly warning that attempts to avoid care fees through the means encouraged could be against the law – and may land individuals who have been duped in trouble with their local council.

Worse still, in many cases, Britons are being charged “extortionate fees” for the privilege of getting involved with such risky schemes – which may not always work – financial advisor Louise Morris, Director at AV Trinity, has warned.

Reports suggest that unregulated advisers and Will-writing firms have also been pushing IHT avoidance schemes – even in cases where there is little chance that a victim’s estate will exceed the £325,000 tax-free threshold or ‘nil rate band’ above which IHT needs to be paid.

Britons are being urged to be extra-cautious and to only approach licensed, regulated solicitors when seeking advice in relation to care home fees, IHT and estate planning.