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No more Court of Protection fees on most Child Trust Fund applications

The vast majority of parents and guardians seeking to support a young person’s future by accessing savings held in a Child Trust Fund (CTF) will no longer have to pay court fees to do so.

The move could benefit the families of up to 200,000 children lacking the mental capacity to manage their own finances – but taking advantage of it relies on awareness of the development and what steps to take.

What does the announcement by the Ministry of Justice mean?

Families applying to access a CTF after their child is 18, can now ask for fees to be waived – provided the trust fund is their only asset.

Parents and guardians who have paid court fees in the past can also request a refund.

In addition, following complaints from parents and campaigners that the current system is costly and stressful, a new working group is to look at how to streamline the process for families.

Much of the criticism has highlighted the expense and difficulty of applying to the Court of Protection.

The application alone costs £365 and can require 47 pages of form-filling and many parents have voiced concerns that the cost of court fees has acted as a deterrent.

What exactly is a Child Trust Fund?

Child Trust Funds (CTFs) are long term, tax free savings accounts available to children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011.

Launched in 2005, the idea was to encourage children, and their parents, to put money away for adulthood with the government making an initial contribution, and in some cases an additional payment, up to a limit of £9,000.

The money in the CTF account belongs to the young person and becomes legally theirs on their 18th birthday. The first accounts started paying out in September 2020.

What happens if a young person does not have the mental capacity to manage their CTF?

Young people who lack mental capacity can find themselves ‘locked out’ of their accounts when they become 18.

To manage their own savings, they must have parents or guardians apply to the Court of Protection (CoP) to become a deputy and be able to make financial decisions on their behalf. This includes accessing a CTF.

If a parent does this before the young person’s 18th birthday, there are already no fees to be paid – unless the child has other substantial assets.

Get in touch

For help and more information about this issue, or if you want to make a Court of Protection application, please contact our highly experienced solicitor, Partner Alison Lamont. She has specialised in Mental Capacity law and Court of Protection applications since 2009.

You can email her: Alison.Lamont@Wards.uk.com

Or call: 0117 9298811

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