Asset Protection Trusts/Unregulated Will Writers

I know this is an old topic and we have had many discussions about these but I would like to draw members’ attention to a new company we have been having particular trouble with. They started up in January this year and are called ‘Essential Wills and Trusts’ and are based in Cannock.

My client (an elderly spinster with no family or financial dependants) was visited by them and parted with the sum of £3,800. She realised she had made a mistake and tried to cancel her contract with them but they refuse to accept that the Consumer Contract Regs apply to them. My litigation colleagues have been pursuing them to try and get my client’s money back and we are making a report to Trading Standards.

However, in the meantime, they provided my client with a draft discretionary trust document. There are about half a dozen major gaffs in the document but I thought I’d share two in particular:

1 The settlor is not appointed as a trustee at all. In fact, the trust purports to appoint the partners in my firm at the date of the settlor’s death as trustees!
2 The settlor isn’t a beneficiary at all, so she’s giving away her home without any right to stay in it!

If anyone out there has come across this company and has any further gems to share, please get in touch with me and please let me know if you have already reported them to Trading Standards. £3,800 is an awful lot to pay for a trust document which isn’t valid!

Lorna Sansom
Blandy & Blandy LLP