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  • FIRST POST
    • happyhero
    • By happyhero 31st Mar 14, 1:16 PM
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    • 54Thanks
    happyhero
    help please with Universal Wealth preservation Trust
    • #1
    • 31st Mar 14, 1:16 PM
    help please with Universal Wealth preservation Trust 31st Mar 14 at 1:16 PM
    Hi my mother is fretting over a scheme she has just paid for, one of those things where they tell you to take out a trust to protect yourself from inheritance tax so that that you can pass on more to your family rather than the tax man. She thought it was great at first but is now having doubts as to whether it is worth the money and does she really need it etc. I went to the first seminar with her and was with her for when they came round to arrange the trust she needed. She picked stage 2 and it came to £4000.

    Has anybody got any experience of these people or similar schemes?

    Once in the trust your property and savings/investments are protected from tax and any other attack basically.

    Both the seminar talker and the guy who came round have a bunch of qualifications in finance/investment and legal stuff, the seminar talker was a non practicing solicitor, i.e he used to be a solicitor before he did this.

    I like to think I am not easily swayed or taken in and both guys seemed nice genuine people plus I felt what they said made sense. I understood it all but my mother was worried that she did not. She feels all control will be taken away as they put the house and everything in trust whereas the way they do it is protect it in the trust and my mother becomes the boss for want of a better word and makes the decisions as to what will happen with everything, i..e who inherits what etc. Plus this way the property cannot be taken for things like care fees.

    I thought it was a good thing but my mother is now thinking of backing out and I must admit if she keeps being against it it does start to make me have doubts even though I was sure about it up till now.

    Can anybody tell me what they think or what would be brilliant if somebody has had this for a while and what their experience and thoughts of it are?
Page 11
    • JOHN ARNOLD
    • By JOHN ARNOLD 2nd May 18, 4:35 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    JOHN ARNOLD
    Mr john arnold
    We were wondering how many victims have contacted the Anti Fraud Team within the police. The more who action this line of complaint the more likely it is that action will be taken. We who write here can only be the tip of a huge iceberg. Take action or risk loosing your and our hard earnt money.
    Don't let the thief get away with it. Even if we can't get money back we would love to see them behind bars.
    • UniversalVictim
    • By UniversalVictim 4th May 18, 5:56 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    UniversalVictim
    Further to previous posts, a number of us have been contacted by Kleyman & Co, solicitors, asking whether we potentially wish to join a group action.

    The letter states that the trust funds being held have been misappropriated as part of a large scale international fraud. Law enforcement agencies in the UK and overseas are involved.

    The solicitor concerned has given her permission for her details to be passed on so here they are:

    Mrs Shivani Varma, email shivani [at] kleymansolicitors [dot] com - telephone 020 3887 8740

    If you contact her, she can give you more background.
    • Doc N
    • By Doc N 5th May 18, 12:06 PM
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    Doc N
    BBC Radio 4 Money Box had a piece about these people/companies as the lead item today. Listen again here after the end of the programme:


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b1hww2


    Very interesting, with, I'm sure, a lot more still to come - possibly BBC1's consumer programme, Watchdog, and Radio 4's consumer programme, You and Yours. The better the coverage the greater the chance of getting some action.

    Reference was made to two arrests in Ipswich on suspicion of fraud (now released on bail) - well worth listening to.
    Last edited by Doc N; 05-05-2018 at 12:55 PM.
    • Stangat
    • By Stangat 11th May 18, 2:11 PM
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    Stangat
    My mother in law wanted to change her will slightly so I sent an email to UWP. They haven't replied so after some Googling I found this forum.

    I'm now in a full blown panic because her house is in Trust with UWP! She is still alive and kicking so we're not actually in need of settling a probate BUT obviously we need to get it out of their Trust. I think UWP need to sign out of it but I haven't a clue how to proceed. If I'm reading it correctly, they have the title, so what happens to her house if we can't get them to sign?

    Any help/advice would be very well received.

    Thank you

    Stangat
    Last edited by Stangat; 11-05-2018 at 2:12 PM. Reason: Spelling
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 11th May 18, 2:54 PM
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    Malthusian
    I think UWP need to sign out of it but I haven't a clue how to proceed.
    Originally posted by Stangat

    See a regulated reputable solicitor immediately.


    I am loath to endorse solicitors who are promoted via this forum due to the prevalance of fraud recovery fraud, but that said, the firm mentioned by UniversalVictim a few posts up is on the Solicitors Regulation Authority register, and the phone number matches the entry on the SRA register.
    • Glen Clark
    • By Glen Clark 11th May 18, 4:52 PM
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    Glen Clark
    I don't know what the Government can do about this.
    They have to make it illegal for people to hide their assets and plead poverty to claim benefits (in this case cost of care home) - in fairness to taxpayers and to make the social security budget affordable.
    How can they prevent unregulated unlicensed con men from offering to hide your assets so you can claim benefits, and running off with them?
    PS: just watched the Money Box clip that says these con men are not licenced or regulated, but how can they be?
    Wouldn't that be licensing and regulating an illegitamate business that offers to help people abuse or defraud the nation's benefits system?
    Last edited by Glen Clark; 11-05-2018 at 5:25 PM.
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” --Upton Sinclair
    • cpsmaldon
    • By cpsmaldon 11th May 18, 5:00 PM
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    cpsmaldon
    cpsmaldon
    We too have been trying to locate Mr Steve Long as he has funds belonging to us which we can't access. Still waiting for ActionFraud to respond to my complaint. Trading Standards do not exist. FSA is just useless. It could be worth joining other victims of this man as there is strength in numbers. Understand Mr Long has been arrested and is out on bail pending return to Court on 18th May.
    • Glen Clark
    • By Glen Clark 12th May 18, 10:03 AM
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    Glen Clark
    Still waiting for ActionFraud to respond to my complaint. Trading Standards do not exist. FSA is just useless
    Originally posted by cpsmaldon
    But if you were attempting to hide your money so we have to pay your care home fees, who was committing the fraud?
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” --Upton Sinclair
    • cpsmaldon
    • By cpsmaldon 12th May 18, 10:18 AM
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    cpsmaldon
    Trusts
    It isn't illegal or dishonest to put ones savings into a Trust. Just consult any solicitor and they will arrange this quite legally. Its a way of making sure that family get (in some part) the inheritance that you wish for them. One still has to pay tax, and Capital Gains. Many people have made this decision over many, many years. We are not trying to defraud anyone out of what would be due to the State on our deaths. We do not claim benefits in any way, and should we need to go into care then we will pay for that luxury.
    • Doc N
    • By Doc N 12th May 18, 10:36 AM
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    Doc N
    But if you were attempting to hide your money so we have to pay your care home fees, who was committing the fraud?
    Originally posted by Glen Clark
    It's not exactly hiding the money, is it? I take your point, though - but the ironic thing is that these schemes are, by their very nature, self-defeating if the local authority can point to any intention whatever (and it's not usually that difficult) of putting the assets out of reach with care home fees in mind.
    • Glen Clark
    • By Glen Clark 12th May 18, 10:47 AM
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    Glen Clark
    Just consult any solicitor and they will arrange this quite legally.
    Originally posted by cpsmaldon
    Well if thats all thats wanted why not just consult any solicitor?
    Instead of a bunch of con men who were promising a way to make us pay their care home fees?
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” --Upton Sinclair
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 12th May 18, 12:02 PM
    • 4,236 Posts
    • 6,667 Thanks
    Malthusian
    But if you were attempting to hide your money so we have to pay your care home fees, who was committing the fraud?
    Originally posted by Glen Clark
    Ooh, ooh, me sir, I know this one.

    The one who was committing the fraud is the guy who now has everyone's money.
    • Glen Clark
    • By Glen Clark 12th May 18, 1:33 PM
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    Glen Clark
    Ooh, ooh, me sir, I know this one.

    The one who was committing the fraud is the guy who now has everyone's money.
    Originally posted by Malthusian
    In a book titled 'Worlds's biggrst crooks and con-men' I remember one of them saying he couldn't con an honest man. He had to offer them something dishonest to get them to go along with it, keeping quiet and not discussing it with others who would put him off.
    So if someone is offering sometthing an honest man wouldn't, it should ring alarm bells.
    And from what I have seen from the promotional literature the main selling point of this scam was evading care home fees. Or rather foisting them on to us.
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” --Upton Sinclair
    • don't get mad get even
    • By don't get mad get even 12th May 18, 7:23 PM
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    don't get mad get even
    Steve Long in Court?
    I notice that someone mentions that Steve Long is due in court on 18th May. is there more detail available? eg location and time. I might well pop along.....

    On a different note I think this thread needs to focus on trying to get to the bottom of what Universal/the Longs have done with monies that belong to either investors or estate beneficiaries. The morality question of whether individuals should try to plan their finances for their own future or their relatives to reduce costs/tax etc is, in my view, a diversion from this issue.
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 12th May 18, 11:16 PM
    • 4,236 Posts
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    Malthusian
    In a book titled 'Worlds's biggrst crooks and con-men' I remember one of them saying he couldn't con an honest man. He had to offer them something dishonest to get them to go along with it, keeping quiet and not discussing it with others who would put him off.
    Originally posted by Glen Clark
    And if we were writing biographies of conmen or an episode of Hustle this would be perfectly fine. The fantasy that people deserve to be conned allows us to sympathise with the conman-as-protagonist, and feel smug in the belief that it'll never happen to us.

    Back in the real world, the idea that "you can't con an honest man" is total nonsense, trivially disproven by any number of examples. For example, you can con someone by offering them nothing more than a return of 8% per year, which doesn't even vaguely suggest dishonesty. Another example: you can con someone with the idea that they'll be in "the next Bitcoin", which as Bitcoin isn't illegal doesn't suggest dishonesty.

    Or you can suggest they can avoid (not evade) care fees, which at the time Universal Wealth started up could be done perfectly legitimately in limited contexts with the use of insurance bonds, ensuring property was held in joint names, and checking eligibility for NHS Continuing Care benefit. So again, not something that requires the mark to be dishonest.

    People get conned into investment scams because they either don't know what questions to ask (Rumsfeld's Unknown Unknown) or they are manipulated and short-circuited into making a decision before they have asked them (courier with the paperwork and a bag full of FOMO).

    While making the mark believe they are involved in something illegal is a feature of some scams, it is not, er, universal.
    • Glen Clark
    • By Glen Clark 13th May 18, 6:36 AM
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    Glen Clark
    The fantasy that people deserve to be conned allows us to sympathise with the conman-as-protagonist, and feel smug in the belief that it'll never happen to us.
    Originally posted by Malthusian
    Wel I certainly don't.
    We are all only a car accident away from being dead or disabled for life.
    I hope everyone gets their money back and they use it to pay their own care home fees where appropriate.Many hard working taxpayers these days will never afford their own home, and I find it morally repugnant they should be paying someone elses care home fees just so their offspring can inherit a second home they have not earned.
    My siblings and I sold my mums home and made up the shortfall ourselves so she could end her days in a nice care home, not bung our mother in some cheapo council job at someone else's expense so we could inherit a property we have not earned
    While making the mark believe they are involved in something illegal is a feature of some scams, it is not, er, universal.
    Originally posted by Malthusian
    Yes of course. I said one famous con man needed the mark to be dishonest, I didn't say they all did. I am simply trying to learn from it, and help others avoid scams by being particularly wary of anyone offering something dishonest.
    PS: you mentioned 8% a year which was what Madoff was offering. Apparently he insinuated they were benefitting from insider trading, which got them hooked and crucially kept them from discussing it with others who would have seen through Madoff's scam.
    Last edited by Glen Clark; 13-05-2018 at 6:42 AM.
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” --Upton Sinclair
    • Glen Clark
    • By Glen Clark 13th May 18, 6:58 AM
    • 4,164 Posts
    • 3,173 Thanks
    Glen Clark
    I think this thread needs to focus on trying to get to the bottom of what Universal/the Longs have done with monies that belong to either investors or estate beneficiaries. The morality question of whether individuals should try to plan their finances for their own future or their relatives to reduce costs/tax etc is, in my view, a diversion from this issue.
    Originally posted by don't get mad get even
    Not exactly a diversion.
    The 'morality question' might explain why enforcement agencies are not treating it as a priority, and we might learn something from it - like how to avoid similar scams.?
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” --Upton Sinclair
    • Piggy in the middle
    • By Piggy in the middle 13th May 18, 1:54 PM
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    Piggy in the middle
    Caught in the trap
    I am so glad I found this forum. There has been some good work carried out here. I have been dealing with a situation for 2.5 years now and the bodies that are meant to help you don't.
    I am curious to see what happens to Mr Steven Long and then what happens next. Does anyone know what will happen to the assets he has in his and his wife's name?
    I will be writing to the Solicitor mentioned earlier in the thread.
    I am joint POA for a vulnerable lady who has no one to help her. I am struggling to believe this whole situation.
    I look forward to up dates of the court case on the 18th May and anything else that comes out of the woodwork.
    • Piggy in the middle
    • By Piggy in the middle 14th May 18, 10:44 AM
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    Piggy in the middle
    Court 18th May
    Has anyone got a case number for Mr Long's court appearance.

    I contacted the solicitor mentioned earlier in this thread she is very helpful and is looking for others affected by this Trust issue to get in contact. The more that contact her the better.
    • Doc N
    • By Doc N 14th May 18, 12:06 PM
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    Doc N
    I'm adding this response by Universal to a previous Moneybox report just to save it somewhere visible - I've taken it from the Google cache because the Universal website seems to be unavailable (!).




    BBC Radio 4 Moneybox Care Fees Investigation

    As you may be aware, this company was featured on BBC Money Box, broadcast on Radio 4 on the 15th April 2017 and repeated the following day on 16th April.


    As you may be aware, this company was featured on BBC Money Box, broadcast on Radio 4 on the 15th April 2017 and repeated the following day on 16th April.

    We consider that the content of the programme presented a very one sided version of events, was misleading and did not show this company or the wide range of professional services it offers in the correct light.

    In the BBC’s own words, ‘we are one of many firms’ (indeed we are 1 of over 500 firms), which provide estate planning advice and as such feel that we were unreasonably singled out.

    The BBC advised us of their intention to broadcast the programme in an email on 29th March 2017. We responded by providing them with substantial evidence to refute their allegations and those of the featured client.

    The BBC refused to answer our questions nor did they acknowledge the contents of the documents we sent but stated that they would continue with the programme as they planned regardless of the proof we sent them. Hence the only recourse left to us was to try to prevent broadcast by seeking the Court’s help. We did indeed go to the High Court but this was after we had sent the BBC numerous documents which clearly showed that their version of events was misguided and they gave us no confidence the programme would remain impartial. The case was never heard by the Court as the BBC raised a technicality and so the judge never made a decision as to the validity of the BBC’s claims.

    This release is intended to present a fuller version of the facts rather than those carefully selected by the BBC to support their allegations.

    The programme featured a client of Universal (Susan Steer) who had complained following the death of her husband. This complaint to us was almost two years after they had engaged us to carry out comprehensive planning for them.

    Dealing with the points as they appeared on the programme:

    Susan Steer first complained to us on 28th October 2016. We replied on the following dates answering her queries, 10th November 2016, 23rd November 2016, 6th December 2016, 15th December 2016, 7th February 2017, 9th February 2017 and 2nd March 2017. We went to extraordinary lengths to deal with Mrs Steer's complaint, remaining professional at all times. Mrs Steer's complaints seemed to vary considerably each time, accusing this firm of varying misdemeanours and ironically she never suggested that 'care fees' was her main concern yet the BBC appear to have made this out to be the reason for her complaint. Dissatisfied with our responses, Susan Steer involved her local MP, Alan Johnson, who following receipt of the actual details of the matter from us has not proceeded with the case.

    The BBC did barge into a seminar being presented by our Steve Long in 2011; on 4th October 2011 they requested an interview with him and we replied promptly on 10th October 2011 saying he was out of the country and that he would speak to them upon his return; in the run up to their misleading programme on 15th April 2017 we provided the BBC with documentary proof of Mr. Long’s absence out of the country in October 2011 and that we had notified the BBC on his return from this absence yet they chose to edit today’s programme in such a way as to make it seem that Mr. Long was avoiding them in 2011 but this absolutely was not the case.

    The Steers never told our representative that Don Steer had terminal cancer; we were only told that he had been diagnosed with cancer; we even sent the BBC the paperwork pertaining to the meetings with the Steers and the documents which they signed which showed precisely why the Steers instructed us; in their own words it was because " [Mr and Mrs Steer] have a son who is not very responsible where money is concerned. Gifting their main asset into trust will be helpful for him in the future re administering their estate and for him after they have died ". The BBC only mentioned the latter half of the actual reason, therefore being very selective with what they wanted the listeners to hear. Furthermore, If a client decides to withhold vital information relating to health, which would understandably affect their planning, this firm cannot be expected to advise fully and for Mrs Steer and the BBC to suggest otherwise is wholly unreasonable.

    Don Steer not only attended the seminar but had a personal one to one consultation with our advisor, saw and approved the information we had noted and was finally seen by another representative on a subsequent visit to whom he confirmed his approval and that he was very happy with what we were doing for him and his family. At that second meeting Mr and Mrs Steer formally executed all of the legal documentation drafted for them and raised no objections or questions regarding the planning they had undertaken. At no point did Mr or Mrs Steer confirm Mr Steer's cancer as being terminal, despite our client care letter asking them to check and clarify our understanding.

    Lastly, we would add that Susan Steer and her son have indeed benefited from the planning Don put in place, as should Susan need to go into care, the assets which Don put into Trust cannot now be used to pay for her care fees and their son is protected irrespective of her stated intentions of avoidance. Don's desire to ring-fence and protect his assets for his wife and son have been achieved. This was never mentioned on the programme.

    Turning to the seminars, we make it quite clear to potential clients in writing, in our slides and verbally during the presentation, that if avoiding care fees is a primary motive then we cannot assist them. Our sales consultant covered this at the end of the seminar when answering questions and categorically reinforced this fact.

    Trust planning has numerous benefits and while a client may enjoy many of these benefits, care fee avoidance should not be the motive for planning and while it may, for some, be a side benefit, it can never be guaranteed.

    Even the BBC’s own expert, Mary Butler, (a Solicitor for the Elderly) said during the programme “I am not saying that these products in certain circumstances will not work”... this is because they do work and we would add that if done correctly, for the right reasons and at the right time and not to deliberately avoid care home fees it would be difficult to challenge. The Government’s Care and Support Statutory Guidance definition says: “…it would be unreasonable to decide that a person had disposed of an asset in order to reduce the level of charges for their care and support needs if at the time the disposal took place they were fit and healthy and could not have foreseen the need for care and support.” In conclusion Trusts have been around for hundreds of years and have consistently proved to be an effective tool in tax and inheritance planning.

    Finally, we totally agree that many of the companies offering this type of planning are unregulated. In fact, many are untrained and unqualified. However, please note that our employees are highly qualified in their own specialist areas and are individually regulated within their own field of expertise. Our staff include experts qualified in law, accountancy and tax and ongoing technical training and competency is a top priority for the firm.

    The Government decided that bodies such as ourselves do not need to be regulated but, we would be happy to be regulated as we strive to meet and exceed all legal requirements.

    We have many thousands of satisfied clients who have enjoyed the benefits of comprehensive planning with us. We are not always perfect and we do occasionally fall short of the rigorous standards that we have set for ourselves, but we pride ourselves on the technical accuracy of our advice and the commitment and integrity of our staff who always act in the best interests of the client.
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