Access to Child Trust Fund in Scotland involving young people and incapacity
A BBC news article has today raised concerns as to the accessibility of funds invested into The Child Trust Fund scheme, launched by the Labour Government in 2005. A Child Trust Fund is a long-term savings account for children born between the 1st of September 2002 and the 2nd of January 2011. This savings account is tax-free, and the funds within can only be accessed by the child when they are 18 years old.
On the child’s 18th birthday, they automatically take over the account and no more money can be added to the balance. At that time, the money can either be withdrawn or transferred to an Adult ISA, after which time The Child Trust Fund will close. Until the funds are withdrawn or transferred, the money will remain in the account and cannot be accessed by any other person.
For young people who lack capacity this causes enormous problems, as in the first instance there would be no other person with the necessary legal authority to withdraw or transfer the funds on the child’s behalf.
In Scotland, a parent or carer is required to be appointed as Guardian to any young person who lacks capacity in order to be able to make decisions in relation to the young person’s welfare, property and financial affairs.
As the court process to obtain guardianship powers can be lengthy, our Family Law team suggests anyone considering making a guardianship application should start the process well in advance of the young person’s 16th birthday. An application for guardianship powers can be lodged with a court no earlier than 3 months prior to the young person’s 16th birthday.
In Scotland, a person or persons can make an application to the court under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 to be appointed as a Guardian to an adult. A Guardian can seek an order for welfare powers, financial powers or a combination of both to assist an adult who lacks legal capacity, to make decisions regarding their welfare, property and financial needs. This includes powers which would enable them to access funds held in any Child Trust Fund. In many cases when applying for Guardianship powers, you can get help with the cost of making an application to the court.
Where can I find more information about Guardianships and young people and incapacity?
More information on The Child Trust Fund scheme can be found on the UK Government website. If you are looking for straightforward advice about guardianships, and young people and incapacity, you can contact our expert team by filling out the form below. If you prefer, feel free to give us a call on 0131 555 7055.