We came across this piece of news recently in the Lincolnshire Echo, but whilst this is a regional story the topic is one of national importance. The article tackles unregulated probate providers and how they may target and take advantage of elderly individuals through practices such as cold-calling.
These probate providers claim to protect the assets of individuals in case they need to pay for unexpected costs such as care-home fees, but then ask the individual to hand over cash at the time of need. They also ask the victim to sign documentation and transfer money up-front in exchange for protection of their property, savings or other assets. Whilst this practice is not in itself illegal, it is noted that the majority of reputable legal services firms will never ask for fees up front.
The article concludes that whilst there is little that can be done to "shelter assets from the costs of care" nowadays, people should still be very wary of cold-callers offering a "quick solution to this very common worry."
Kings Court Trust offers a fixed and transparent price for all its estate administration services, which is explained from the outset so that our customers know exactly what they will pay for our service. We also ensure that our fees are collected from the estate itself, so families will never have to pay anything up front.
What do you make of this dangerous practice? Have you any experience of an elderly or vulnerable individual being approached in this way?