One role of a property and affairs deputy is to manage a Court Funds Office account. They do so on behalf of the person they make decisions for.
In this case, you must have authorisation from the Court of Protection to look after someone else’s money.
Unless you already have it, you must apply on behalf of the person you are acting as a deputy, to:
- Open a Court Funds Office account for the protected person.
- Manage an account already opened for them by court order (e.g. money received as settlement in a court case).
Note: The person would then have a special account opened for them with the Court Funds Office. The court order that appointed you as someone else’s deputy informs you of your tasks and obligations.
Account Limits and Responsibilities
The CFO account does not belong to the deputy. In fact it belongs to the subject of the deputyship. Even so, the deputy is the only person who can manage the account for them.
You will have certain limits on what you can and cannot do with an account. The court order that appointed you as a deputy will confirm the limits and your responsibilities.
Note:Failing to keep to the responsibilities of a deputy when managing the account can result in a fine and prison.
Applying for a Court Funds Office Account
You can contact the Court Funds Office if the Court of Protection appointed you as a property and affairs deputy. Having authorised deputyship means you can apply to open or manage a Court Funds Office account.
A successful application means you can make withdrawals from the bank account. In effect, you will be running it on behalf of the person whose affairs you are managing.
- Deputies managing Court Funds office accounts need the date of the court order and the case number.
- Use Form CFO A to apply for authority to make account withdrawals. Fill in the bank account details and select the box titled ‘New details’.
- If you choose to attach a copy of the bank statement it cannot be more than three (3) months old. A letter from the bank is alternative method to confirm the account details.
- Use Form CFO L when applying and paying money into the account at the same time. Attach a cheque and have it made payable to the ‘Accountant General of the Senior Courts’.
- Send a copy of the original court order that appointed you as deputy with the forms and attachments. It must have an official seal and you will find the address written on the forms.
Note: The Court Funds Office will confirm by letter when you are set up to manage the account (usually within five working days). They will return your form if they cannot process the application (with extra instructions).
How to Manage a Court Funds Office Account
If a Court Funds Office account holder has a deputy the CFO refer to it as a ‘special account’. It may be important when you receive statements about the account.
Special Account Statements
Each year, the deputy will receive statements around the end of April and the end of October. You will also get tax vouchers with the April statement (for tax returns). You can contact the Court Funds Office to ask for a statement at any other time.
Court Funds Office
Email: [email protected]
Account Interest and Tax Deductions
The current interest rate on Court Funds Office special accounts 0.1%. The Lord Chancellor sets the rate (it is not a fixed rate of interest).
HM Revenue and Customs do not deduct tax from special accounts. So, the person you are acting as deputy for may need to pay Income Tax if the interest goes above their tax allowance.
If You Change Your Address
You should write a letter to the Court Funds Office if your address changes. Otherwise, you may not get account statements and the tax vouchers.
Court Funds Office Account Investments
Deputies who manage a Court Funds Office account can use the money to invest in the stock market, if:
- The account holder has at least £10,000 available for investment.
- They are likely to hold on to the money for at least five (5) years.
The Court Funds Office has information for deputies of special accounts. They make stock market investments in companies using the Equity Tracker Index Fund.
Note: Write to the Court Funds Office if you want to invest a sum of money telling them how much you want to invest in the ETIF.
Tax Deductions on Investments
HMRC will deduct tax from dividends in this kind of investment. But, there may be more income tax to pay on the interest or the dividends from these investments.
In some cases, there may be liabilities for paying Capital Gains Tax. For example, after selling the investments for a difference in value higher than their allowance.
Depositing Money into a Court Funds Account
Once you get authorisation to manage the account you can start paying money into it. You will need to:
- Use the details on the court order. You will need the date of the order and the case number.
- Fill in the ‘request for deposit’ form CFO L (see above).
- Issue a cheque for the amount you want to pay in (made payable to the ‘Accountant General of the Senior Courts’).
- Attach a copy of the original court order that appointed you as deputy with the forms and attachments. It must have an official seal and you will find the address written on the forms.
Note: The Court Funds Office will confirm they processed a deposit payment by letter (usually within five working days). They will return your form if they cannot process the deposit (with extra instructions).
Withdrawals from a Court Funds Account
You will be able to set up regular withdrawals or a one-off withdrawal. But, you may need a court order to make certain payments to other bank accounts (e.g. to the account of a solicitor to pay fees). The Court of Protection issues this type of court order.
The Court of Protection sets limits on certain types of withdrawals from Court Funds Office accounts.
Setting Up Payments
Check the details on the court order that appointed you as someone’s deputy. You need some of this information to fill in:
- Form CFO P (for making a one-off payment to your bank account).
- Form CFO R (for setting up or changing a regular payment to your bank account).
- Form CFO 205 (for making a one-off payment to another bank account).
You will need to fill in form CFO A if there is a change in your bank account details (see above). Select the box titled ‘amending details’ and attach (either):
- A copy of a bank statement (not more than three (3) months old).
- A letter from your bank that confirms your new bank account details.
Note: Send forms by postal methods to the address written on the forms. The Court Funds Office will send a letter as confirmation within five (5) working days.
A One-off Payment to Your Bank Account
It will take around five days to pay a cheque into your bank account (3 working days for the money to clear). Use Form CFO PG if you want to withdraw money for a gift or a charitable donation and send it with form CFO P.
Payments to another Bank Account
The person (or the company) will need to sign Form CFO 205. You will need a copy of a bank statement (not more than 3 months old) as a paying a person rather than a company.
Note: Send it along with an original copy of the court order that authorises the payment (it must have an official seal).
Regular Payments to Your Bank Account
You will need to use Form CFO R to set up, amend, renew, or to stop a regular payment. Select the most relevant box on the form. Remember to specify the number of months for the regular payment to continue (maximum 23 months).
The Court Funds Office renews regular payments set up to continue for 23 months by automatic process. They will remind you by letter one month before the renewal is due.
Stop Managing an Account (or close it)
It is possible for a new deputy to take over the management of a Court Funds Office account (e.g. if you stop or you die). But, you cannot hand over the management of the account.
The Court of Protection would need to appoint a new deputy. The new deputy would then need to follow the same process of applying to manage the account.
If You Stop Being a Deputy
Closing a Court Funds Office Account
As a rule, it is not possible to close a Court Funds Office yourself (e.g. moving the money into another account). An exception applies if you have a court order authorising you to complete this process.
It would not be uncommon for the person that you are deputy for to die. In this case, the person dealing with the estate can apply to have the money in the account paid out. The CFO would then close the account.
If the Protected Person Dies
Write to inform the Court Funds Office if the person you are deputy for dies. Send them a certified copy of the death certificate (if possible). The other information needed will depend on:
- Who deals with the deceased person’s estate.
- Whether they left a will or not.
Dealing with the Estate
Ask for a Certificate of Funds if you are dealing with the estate. You can get it when you write to the Court Funds Office telling them about the death. It will show how much money is in the account and what investments exist.
Not Dealing with the Estate
If you are not dealing with the estate you should let the Court Funds Office know who is. As a rule, this means giving them the contact details of the personal representative.
The Court Funds Office would make contact with the personal representative. They will provide them with further information along with the forms required to close the account.
Payments for Funeral Expenses
It is possible to use money from the account to pay the funeral provider for the funeral expenses. The personal representative (or person who arranged the funeral) would need to apply.
- Use Form CFO FE1 for this part of the process.
- Send it to the address written on the form along with the invoice from the funeral provider. You also need to send a certified copy of the death certificate.
Note: The value of the deceased person’s estate must reflect the funeral expenses. As such, they cannot include payments for things like a headstone or refreshments served at the funeral service.
Payments for Inheritance Tax
The personal representative can apply to pay an inheritance tax bill to HM Revenue and Customs out of the account.
If there is No Will
The person may have died without making a will and may not have any living relatives. In this case, the Court Funds Office will contact the Treasury Solicitor or the Solicitor for the Duchy of Cornwall or Lancaster. They would treat it as an unclaimed estate.