The BBC have raised concerns recently about the problems of accessing Child Trust Funds where someone has turned eighteen but does not have capacity to look after their own finances.  This is topical because the first Child Trust Funds have started to pay out this month.

The Child Trust Fund itself doesn't have a specific mechanism for parents, or anyone else, to access the money if a child does not have capacity.  Families are being advised to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as Deputy in order to access the funds but some of them don't feel it is worth it.

What help is available for families in this positon?

It is true that a young adult who isn't able to manage their own finances or grant a Power of Attorney to their parents will not be able to access their Child Trust Fund without a Deputy being appointed by the Court of Protection.  It is also true that some families can find the process administratively burdensome and drawn out. 

However, the main thrust of the article was that the Court fees stood in the way of them making the application.  Some families were saying that with a Court fee of £400 it was not worth applying to be appointed as Deputy. 

We might have some good news.  For many young adults in this position, particularly if they are on means tested benefits and the Child Trust Fund is the only asset, they would be able to pay no Court fee at all or only half of the Court fee.  A similar scheme applies to the fees which would normally be charged where a Deputyship is in place.  Parents who want to apply for help with the Court fee need to fill in form COP44A which is available online.  If the young adult's savings are under £3,000 and they receive one of the following benefits, then they should get full help.  Those benefits are:

  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support

Universal Credit (provided they are earning less than £6,000 a year)

Pension Credit is also listed but would obviously not be applicable to a young adult.

Parents who want to apply for a total exemption or 50% reduction in the Deputy assessment fee and supervision fee need to fill in Form OPG120 which is also available online.  A slightly longer list of benefits is included in that scheme.

We hope this helps the families of disabled children through a potentially difficult situation. 

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