Lawyer Monthly - September 2023

awareness of the Mental Capacity Act when it comes to managing the financial affairs of young adults who may not have the required capacity to do this themselves. This is aimed at families, parents and carers of young adults, and can be found on the UK government website1. To conclude, do you have any further comments to make about the legal obstacles faced by severely disabled youths and their guardians in the UK? Having worked closely with a significant number of families over the past 12 years who have severely disabled children, I am acutely aware of the challenges they face on a daily basis. With their child transitioning from a minor to an adult, this is a further major obstacle that they need to overcome. However, with the right planning and preparation the potential for things to go wrong can be minimised to a degree (albeit never fully erased) when facing such legal obstacles. My top tips for parents looking to navigate these obstacles are as follows. As mentioned above, it really is all about the pre-planning and preparation during this time of transition. Thus, I would advise parents to get a start on matters when their child is 16 or 17 in looking to ‘get ahead of the curve’ once their child turns 18. Again, the number of parents out there that are simply not aware of the legal implications once their disabled child attains adulthood is very worrying. It is up to organisations like mine and fellow colleagues’ to push and promote this message at every opportunity we get. The government also has a big part to play here, and published toolkits like the one mentioned above are a fantastic start and resource. Second, use a professional who has the requisite skill set, background and experience when it comes to the Court of Protection, especially when it comes to health and welfare applications, which are notoriously hard to get by the court. Such applications are not cheap, require a lot of hard work (from both the family and the professional) and are time-consuming ,and lastly there is so much riding on them – thus any family really needs to give themselves the best opportunity of getting these applications approved at the first shot. Finally, do your research in looking to identify charities and support organisations that may specialise in your child’s condition. There are a great number of such organisations out there that offer a wealth of support when it comes to areas around emotional support, legal advice, practical advice, social gatherings, networking, research findings etc. One such organisation is Rett UK, who we have been working with for some time now. Rett syndrome is a rare neurological disorder affecting mainly females and very few males. People with Rett syndrome have profound and multiple physical and communication disabilities and are totally reliant on others for support throughout their lives. Our partnership with Rett UK has brought me personally so much joy, and it really is a pleasure to work with these families who it must be said I admire greatly after seeing the daily challenges they face. EXPERT INSIGHT 49 About Andy Riddle Andy Riddle is a CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy) qualified accountant and a PRINCE2 (PRojects In Controlled Environments) practitioner. With more than 20 years’ worth of experience in the field of managing vulnerable clients’ fund and assets, Andy has a passion for the adult social care sector and knows a great deal about the workings of private client practices, all of which he has brought to bear in establishing Professional Deputies in 2011. About Professional Deputies Professional Deputies manage the property and financial affairs of adults who are deemed mentally incapable of doing so themselves and have no close ones able to perform the task. The team uses appointeeships, deputyships and lasting powers of attorney to safeguard the assets of these vulnerable members of society, and also aid in drafting applications to the Court of Protection. Contact Andrew Riddle Managing Director Professional Deputies Central House, 1 Ballards Lane, Finchley, London N3 1LQ, UK Tel: +44 02030 115586 +44 07747 800221 E: 1 making-finance-decisions-for-young-peopleparent-and-carer-toolkit

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