Universal Wealth Preservation - have you been affected?
Thousands of people are now concerned that they were incorrectly advised in relation to the Wills, Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney that were drafted by Ipswich-based Universal Wealth Preservation (and the associated companies Universal Asset Protection Ltd, Universal Tax Solutions, Universal Trustees LLP and Universal Lawyers Ltd), as the company's director Steven Long was sentenced to eight months in prison at the end of 2018 for contempt of court for refusing to disclose the whereabouts of £25 million of client's missing assets.
Universal Asset Protection entered into compulsory liquidation in May 2018 and criminal investigations are now on-going under Suffolk Police's Operation Ardent.
Many clients are now unable to locate their original documents which were being stored by Universal but have now been seized by the Police.
In the worst cases, clients who placed cash assets into trust may have now lost their life savings as these funds appear to have disappeared.
In any event, clients of Universal are advised to seek independent legal advice at the earliest opportunity to discuss their situation.
When drawn up correctly, trusts can provide individuals with maximum flexibility and protection. But when clients are advised to structure their affairs in ways which may not be appropriate for their circumstances or are persuaded to transfer their life savings to professional Trustees with no protection for them, serious problems can arise.
Will writing companies are not overseen by a regulator and do not always offer protection for circumstances such as these. However, solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (also known as the SRA) and operate under strict rules in order to be awarded independent accreditations. Gepp Solicitors are accredited by Lexcel, Lawnet, the Conveyancing Quality Scheme and have been recognised as a Leading Firm in the UK by the Legal 500.
As a firm we already act for individuals who were clients of Universal Wealth Preservation and can advise and assist with attempting to rectify the situation you find yourself in. What we can do for you depends on what has been put in place and so it is useful for us to review any documents you hold but if you do not have any documents we can still advise you on the next steps.
If you have been a client of Universal Wealth and are concerned about the position you now find yourself in, or would like further information on this, please telephone our Private Client Department on 01245 228127.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.