Lawyer Monthly - September 2023

On the financial side, can you explain the situation that parents of severely disabled youths are facing when it comes to accessing Child Trust Funds (CTFs)? Under the Labour government, any child born between 2002 and 2011 was eligible to receive at least £250 in a savings pot, which they could access as soon as they turned 18. These were called Child Trust Funds. The policy was designed to enable parents to put away funds which would then be released to their child upon attaining adulthood. However, in cases involving children who lack the capacity to manage their property and affairs, upon reaching the age of 18, an application must be made to the Court of Protection for the funds to be released. Thus, many parents find themselves having to apply to the Court of Protection in order to be able to access these funds. The bureaucracy, How significant is this problem, and how many has it impacted? Children who lack capacity were particularly affected, with an estimated 200,000 having to rely on their families to go through a lengthy, often costly court process to access their savings. An average account contains £1,900. If a family were to use a professional (on top of any mental capacity assessment fees and court fees) to submit the application for them, it is highly likely that this would not be a cost-effective option, and that the aforementioned £1,900 would more or less be utilised. Has the UK government taken any notable steps towards addressing the issue? They have, thankfully. Firstly, parents or guardians of children who lack mental capacity can ask for delays, cost (mental capacity assessment fees, court fees and professional fees) and overall legal implications can be a real disincentive for parents. EXPERT INSIGHT 47 It really is all about preplanning prior to that crucial transitional period where a minor transitions to an adult.

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