Universal Wealth Management Inheritance Fraud Claims

Wed 24th Oct 2018

Universal Wealth Management Inheritance Fraud Claims

Ipswich based inheritance planning firm under investigation by Suffolk Police for inheritance fraud. 

The reported collapse of an inheritance planning firm has left its clients fearing for their life savings after it was announced they are being investigated by police.

Universal Wealth Management, based in Ipswich, had previously run seminars called “Keep It In The Family”, where they advised clients how to protect assets from inheritance tax. Two individuals connected to the company were arrested by police and released as inquiries continue.

After attending a seminar run by Universal Wealth Management clients of the company typically put their home into a trust fund run by the company, meaning they no longer officially owned it. The idea behind the trust being that local authorities would disregard the property in the event someone needed long-term care.

The BBC reported the company first hit trouble late in 2017 when it is said to have laid off dozens of staff. Earlier this year, some of their clients started to complain but their emails and calls were going unanswered and not returned.

In April 2018, two individuals connected to the firm were arrested on suspicion of fraud by Suffolk police. They have since been released but remain under active investigation.

A spokeswoman for the authorities said: "Two people who were arrested on suspicion of fraud as part of a large-scale financial investigation have had their police bail cancelled. "Both have now been released under investigation whilst inquiries continue."

Action Fraud, the national body which acts on behalf of fraud victims, said at least 140 clients of Universal Wealth had been in contact regarding missing money.

Nigel Watson, from Burnley, Lancashire, attended a Universal Wealth seminar with his parents in 2014. They were persuaded to sign their houses over to a Universal Wealth Preservation trust, while Mr Watson's parents exchanged an amount over £250,000 - their entire life savings.

Mr Watson only found out about the collapse when he received a letter from a Universal Wealth former employee, offering to change the trustees for a fee.

Universal Wealth Management has yet to comment. Their offices in Ipswich, are empty and the 100 staff have lost their jobs.