Access to Child Trust Funds
The question of access to Child Trust funds by young adults who lack capacity has caused some controversy recently.
It was hoped that a Ministry of Justice consultation would result in the establishment of a small payments scheme for payments of under £2500. However, this proposal was rejected by the government with a pledge that Court of Protection procedures would be simplified by digitisation, and that awareness of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) would be raised among the parents of incapacitated young adults.
This has been followed by the publication of a “toolkit” for parents which highlights the move away from parental decision making as the child becomes a young adult to being governed by the provisions of the MCA and the requirement to encourage the young person to make their own decisions if they are able.
The toolkit points out that a Court of Protection order will be required to access a Child Trust Fund and that it’s best to apply well before the child reaches 18 so access can be obtained as soon as possible after they become an adult. An application before the child reaches 18 also has the advantage that no court fee is payable.
For young adults likely to have assets over and above their Child Trust Fund we would recommend a review of their finances as they approach their 18th birthday, to decide a comprehensive plan for the future, utilising the appointment of a Deputy if necessary.