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Special needs parents need competent legal advice if they want to prevent their child being made a Ward of Court after they have passed away. If you don’t put your legal affairs in order then the court may intervene, especial if they believe your son or daughter is unable to manage his or her own finances.

If it is decided that your child cannot manage then they will be made a Ward of Court. A Committee will be appointed to control your child’s money on their behalf. The Committee will then take over and can decide on a range of issues such as;

  • Closing all bank accounts and lodging the proceed
  • Decide if your child has the ability to live independently
  • Place your child in residential care (if appropriate)
  • Sell any asset or family home to provide additional money
  • Make medical decision on behalf of your child
  • Decide how your child’s money is distributed after your child passes away

Your child will also be prevented from marrying and must seek permission if they want to go on a foreign holiday. The Ward of Court system works very well, in particular for people with intellectual disabilities who have limited family support.

Please be aware that new capacity legislation, which should be passed through houses of Oireachtas by March of next year will have a huge impact on ‘wards of court”. Legislation will enshrine right to individual in having capacity and therefore present situation with wards of court where individuals right to make decisions is invalid will change. Furthermore, on foot, of new legislation all existing wards of court will have to be re-examined.

Information is available from the Department of Justice and Inclusion Ireland website on the new capacity legislation.

Always seek the advice of a solicitor to legally advise you around this complex area.