The liquidation and subsequent investigation of Universal Wealth Preservation on fraud allegations understandably has investors worried about recovering assets they had put in trust with the company, which included properties and life savings.
However, if investors want to protect the future of their assets, it’s crucial to not get caught up in the hysteria. Philips Trust Corporation can offer free impartial advice about what to do if you’ve been affected by the collapse of Universal Wealth Preservation, and how you can secure the future of any assets placed in trust with the now-defunct firm.
What was Universal Wealth Preservation?
Universal Asset Protection, trading as Universal Wealth Preservation, was an Ipswich-based inheritance planning firm run by Steve and Melanie Long. The firm helped individuals set up trusts to protect their assets from inheritance tax and local authority home care fees.
In October 2017, staff were dismissed from the company and Steve Long was stripped of his membership to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) the following month. Universal Asset Protection entered into compulsory liquidation in May 2018.
The firm is currently under investigation by Suffolk Police after Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting service for fraud crimes, was contacted by at least 140 investors who were experiencing delays in retrieving wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and assets placed in trust.
You may have received a leaflet similar to this inviting you to a seminar hosted by Universal Wealth Preservation
Can I put my trust in trusts?
The investigation of Universal Wealth Preservation has prompted widespread debate about the viability of placing assets in trust with estate planning firms.
Setting up a trust for your family’s estate is a common practice in long-term financial planning, particularly for high net worth individuals. It has become increasingly popular with those of average net worth in recent years as the cost of living and inheritance tax has risen. This is because assets placed into a trust no longer belong to the now-beneficiary, and will therefore not be included in calculations for inheritance tax bills and other fees.
Instead, the responsibility of managing these assets lies with the trustee—who, in this case, was Universal Wealth Preservation.
Unfortunately, Universal Wealth Preservation investors have fallen foul to errors in judgement and questionable decision-making on behalf of the directors, who had a responsibility to protect their clients’ interests. This does not, however, mean that placing assets in trust is inherently unreliable as a means of financial planning.
I’m a Universal Wealth Preservation investor — what can I do?
It’s a confusing time to be an investor in Universal Wealth Preservation. The firm has been closed down and representatives uncontactable for the better part of a year, while its liquidation has provoked hysteria and opportunism on all sides. Amidst the chaos, there are potentially thousands of customers looking to retrieve their assets who risk running into further financial trouble by taking the wrong advice.
Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that investors will be able to make a successful recovery claim against Universal Wealth Preservation or Steve and Melanie Long for the time being, particularly as the firm remains under police investigation. Reclaiming assets from a trust is an extensive legal process and customers wishing to take this route should be advised that it is costly, will take a considerable time to complete and doesn’t guarantee the future of your investment.
Legal firms will likely suggest that ownership of the trust instead be transferred to another estate planning firm, thus ensuring that the assets remain protected and allowing investors to move on from this unfortunate incident.
How Philips Trust can help Universal Wealth Preservation investors
When transferring ownership of your trust with Universal Wealth Preservation, it’s crucial to seek counsel from professionals with extensive knowledge of trusts and the estate planning sector. Most local solicitors will not be able to offer this, and you may be better off speaking directly to an estate planning firm.
The team at Philips Trust Corporation has over 100 years of combined trust management and estate planning experience. We are the preferred trust writer of the Institute of Professional Will Writers, work closely with leading solicitors and their clients and are the business partner of Taylor Rose TTKW Law, a Top 200 law firm.
We are able to offer free advice over the phone, and have experts across the country who can make home visits to discuss your needs in further depth and advise you on the next steps. Our priority is to offer reassurance to those affected by the collapse of Universal Wealth Preservation and we will never pressure you into making financial decisions you are not completely happy with.
If you have a trust managed by Universal Wealth Preservation and would like to protect the future of your assets, call us on 0121 285 3306 to discuss your options.