Accessing small funds – important consultation now open

The Ministry of Justice are consulting on a potential mechanism to enable families seeking access to small funds belonging to loved ones who lack mental capacity.  A new streamlined process would allow withdrawals and payments from cash-based accounts, up to a total value of £2,500 – without the need to get permission from the Court of Protection.

Currently, if a person lacks mental capacity and as a result cannot manage their finances, a family member or guardian must apply to the Court of Protection to manage these funds. This is to protect vulnerable people from fraud or abuse.  However, concerns have been raised that this can be a disproportionately costly and lengthy process to access relatively small amounts of money. The Government has therefore launched a consultation on a new system to ease the administrative burden on families.

The consultation can be found here and closes on 12 January 2022.

By way of background, the impetus for this has come about in large part because of issues relating to accessing Child Trust Funds held by banks in the name of individuals who have now turned 18 and lack the capacity to make decisions about managing their property and affairs.  I discuss this issue – and the legal complexities to which it gave rise – here.

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