Lincolnshire Trading Standards is warning county residents against using unregulated will writing companies to prepare wills.
Some companies offering advice on how to protect family assets and avoid care costs, claim if a trust is set up to protect the value of your home, then it cannot be used for a means test against care home fees.
Angela Kane, Senior Trading Standards Officer at the county council, said: “We’d advise anyone contacted by these companies offering information on how to protect your family assets, pay less tax and avoid care costs, to be really cautious. This could be via a cold call or an invite to a free seminar. They may use salespeople who do not have the necessary legal qualifications or insurance, leaving consumers unprotected should things go wrong.
“Never be rushed into making financial decisions that can have serious consequences, always carefully consider all of your options and obtain legal advice from a local, qualified solicitor.”
Glen Garrod, Director of Adult Social Services at the county council, said: “We don’t want people to be put off from seeking the care they need over financial worries. We encourage everyone who feels they need social care support to contact us for free advice, information and assessment.
“If a need is identified then councils will assess what someone should pay towards their care by looking at all of their financial circumstances, and that could include property in trust. However, there are lots of ways to pay for your care and it doesn’t necessarily mean selling your home.”
Check whether solicitors are regulated at www.sra.org.uk
Age UK provides a range of advice and guidance for the elderly, including a fact sheet called ‘Deprivation of Assets and the Care Home Means Test’.
If you want impartial advice about your finances contact Citizen’s Advice on 03444 111 444 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk