savings account concept

Mental Capacity Act: MoJ won’t alter child savings account access rules

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the Mental Capacity Act 2005 will not be altered to make it simpler for parents to access child savings accounts after the child turns 18 years old.

Instead, the Ministry of Justice will raise awareness around the necessity of obtaining legal authority prior to a child turning 18 and collaborate with the Court of Protection to develop the application procedure.

A lasting power of attorney or a petition to the Court of Protection are two ways to obtain legal authority. Families claim, however, that the current procedures for accessing the accounts are “lengthy, difficult to navigate, and costly”.

In a statement, Justice Minister, Mike Freer, said:

“I understand how frustrating parents have found trying to access these savings accounts while looking after children with disabilities and severe learning difficulties. Our consultation has exposed, however, that a new scheme would be just as complex to set up and navigate and may put the finances of those we all want to protect at greater risk.

Instead, simplifying the current system is already ensuring that families can access the money they have saved quicker while maintaining the vital safeguards that prevent abuse and fraud.”

The government consulted on setting up a small payments scheme that would allow parents to access up to £2,500 from child trust funds and junior ISAs after a child who lacks mental capacity turns 18, says the Law Society Gazette.

The ministry claimed that the “root causes” of parents being unable to access funds were a lack of knowledge about the Mental Capacity Act.

According to the ministry’s response to the consultation, the Court of Protection’s new digital processes have reduced processing times from 24 weeks to two months, the Law Society says. Professional court users began using the digital system in January, and the broader public are set to begin using it this month.

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