Beware the curse of advice casually provided by a self-taught “expert” at a bus stop, in the pub or over the garden fence.
A few years ago, I advised married clients to incorporate protective “Trusts” in their Wills. The purpose being that in the event of the first death, the survivor would benefit fully from the deceased’s estate, however the deceased’s estate value could not be subsequently claimed to pay for any long term care the survivor required. Only the survivor’s half share of the estate would be vulnerable as a result, and their children would at least inherit the first deceased’s share of the estate after the death of the survivor. The survivor would also not suffer any less quality of care.
A “friend” of the wife, with no professional qualifications or experience, told them that “Trusts are expensive and mean that the survivor cannot benefit from the deceased’s estate”. This is untrue, however it unsettled my clients, and as they had known their “friend” for many years, they ultimately decided NOT to take my advice, and asked me to remove the protective Trusts from their official Will documents. In reality, the only cost would have been approximately £1,200 after the death of the first spouse, half of which the survivor would have almost certainly incurred anyway, and they would have retained full control of, and full benefit from, the deceased’s estate.
Less than 2 years later, the husband died suddenly. I again advised his widow to retrospectively ring-fence her deceased husband’s estate with a protective Trust. This would now have been more expensive by approximately £750, as it was being done retrospectively after the death of the first spouse, however still beneficial for their children’s inheritance. The “friend’s” comments were still casting doubt and fear in the widow’s mind, and she required time to consider her options. She had up to 2 years after her husband’s death to take retrospective protective action.
Needless to say, she took no action, and about 3 years later she suffered a massive stroke and is now in permanent residential care. Although her children are fighting for NHS care funding, this is routinely refused for a long time before ultimately being granted, if at all. In the meantime, they have been paying over £3,500 per month for residential care, which has almost fully eroded the widow’s share of the estate value. Very soon, her deceased husband’s estate value will also begin to reduce by that amount every month as she inherited it directly without protection, and that is now considered to be her capital in her sole name.
It is no surprise that their “friend” who talked them out of using a protective Trust in their Wills, is not forthcoming in providing financial help to cover the needless costs my client faces as a result of her careless so-called “advice”.