When you’re facing major financial trouble, sometimes the only thing that can help through a difficult time are the professionals you employ to take you through the process. With Trust Deeds, that would be Insolvency Practitioners. Yet like all businesses, the world of Insolvency has its share of less than scrupulous goings on that you need to be wary of in order to choose a good reputable and professional Insolvency practitioner to work with you.
All Insolvency Practitioners that deal with Trust deeds must be fully licensed. They must hold a current practicing certificate, have passed the Joint Insolvency Exam and demonstrated to the ICAS Insolvency Permit Committee that they have the required knowledge and experience to hold a permit. Believe it or not, there are some people out there who have done none of this and still offer Trust Deed advice and manage Trust Deeds illegally, and you need to be aware you could end up speaking to one.
Fees for any professional service are never going to be cheap, but the real skill lies in finding someone who offers good value for money.
If, for example, an IP wants to charge you £600 for putting your details onto their system, would you say that was good value for money? Probably not, but what if an IP charged £4,000 fees for their services compared to another firm, which charged £2,000? In this case you would need to look closer at the firms in question. Large companies tend to charge more than smaller ones as the costs of running the business tend to be more. Also, some highly experienced IP’s that have been successfully looking after Trust Deeds for many years may charge more than someone who has only been doing so for two or three years.
Another good way weighing up a prospective IP on the way they deal with you. To start with you should be looking for someone that deals with you in a professional courteous way and doesn’t attempt to confuse you with jargon. You need to understand the process clearly before you go forward with a Trust Deed, so they must go through the different options with you.
Anne Condick, Head of insolvency for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, says: “Practitioners are expected to look at the whole circumstances and give proper advice, which could be that they should be taking out a debt management plan.” In other words, the eventual debt solution you opt for should suit your circumstances.
Also, take a look at the way the staff treat you too. Are you dealt with promptly and politely? Are your questions answered clearly and matters dealt with straight away? Or are you kept hanging around the phone, never getting to speak to the right person? Good service and attention to detail will end up costing more money, but could cost you less sleep and heartache.
Of course getting recommendations from someone is also good, but only if they are partway through a Trust Deed themselves. Someone with a new Trust Deed or a friend of an IP may have starts in their eyes and be biased.
Outsourcing the research on a Trust Deed case
A relatively new phenomenon is IP’s getting third parties to do the research and initial interviews on individuals for them. The biggest fee reported for this so far has been £1200 for a 20-minute initial suitability interview. There is nothing illegal about this, however those costs must be paid and chances are they will be passed on to you. In addition, you will end up assessing the suitability of the person in front of you, who will not end up being your IP.
It’s no easy task to choose a good IP, but your future happiness can depend on it. You need someone you can rely on, someone who give you good advice and who can make a balanced recommendation that has both yours and your creditors best interests at heart. And certainly not their own!