The Ministry of Justice has been considering amendments to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005) following consultations in 2021 and 2022.
One key issue was that parents were having problems in accessing child trust funds (CTFs) held by banks in the name of children who had turned 18 but lacked physical or mental capacity.
It was argued that forcing parents or other guardians to apply to the Court of Protection to gain control of or give access to funds for the care of the disabled child now adult was long and laborious taking 20 weeks as well as costly with court application fees alone at £371 just to access even a small Child Trust Fund of say £3,000. It was argued that setting an upper limit of say £2,500 without approaching the court would be so much easier for parents or guardians.
Not withstanding vulnerable children moving into adulthood, the same applied to all vulnerable adults and those caring for them e.g., if there is a disabled persons trust with funds in.
Other respondents argued that many people do not understand the legal process required to access funds as they are not made aware or educated on the process to access funds and make decisions people in their care.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Decision
The lack of understanding the legal process is the root cause that stops people from accessing funds on behalf of another individual.
Instead of amending the MCA 2005 by adding a small payments scheme, the MoJ will task the Court of Protection with making the application process through digital access in a similar way to Lasting Powers of Attorney and sharing the attorney powers digitally now works, in the same way as you can share your driving licence.
We agree with the MoJ’s stance. Protection and oversight need to stay for a vulnerable person’s wealth. Digital applications and access to then share digitally with Child Trust Fund and other investment providers or trustees will make things much easier.