There is around £1.7billion sitting in unclaimed Child Trust Funds according to The Share Foundation.
This relates to almost a million young adults, so if you think your child or grandchild might have had a Child Trust Fund set up for them, now is the time to check. There could be over £1,000 sitting in there waiting for them.
What are Child Trust Funds?
Child Trust Funds were open to children born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011.
There were usually opened by parents and most received a £250 payment from the government to get things started.
Some children also received further payments from the government if they were from low-income families or receiving some types of benefit.
The idea was that these accounts would encourage children and the parents of children to save for their adult life.
You can earn interest in some Child Trust Funds and others allow you to invest in shares.
All income and gains are tax free.
Child Trust Funds are no longer available for new customers today, but you can still save up to £9,000 a year into one if it was opened before 2011.
The child can take over management of the account once they turn 16 but cannot withdraw the money until they are 18.
The first accounts started maturing in September 2020.
The child doesn’t need to withdraw the money at 18 though. They could transfer it to an adult ISA.
HM Revenue and Customs have said they have written to all account holders just before their 18th birthday, but it could be these letters have been missed by either the child or the parent.
Child Trust Funds were popular back in the day and it is believed there was around £10.5billion sitting in them in April 2021.
So, it’s definitely worth spending some time working out whether you established one for your child/grandchild and whether they have claimed it yet.
How to track down unclaimed Child Trust Funds
Thankfully, the government have made it quite easy to track down unclaimed Child Trust Funds.
There is a form that you will need to complete to trace the account. Parents can do this on behalf of the child if the child is under 18 or the child themselves can do it if they are over 16.
The form can only be accessed via a Government Gateway account so if the parent or child over 16 doesn’t have one you will need to set one up. It’s free to use.
If you track down any unclaimed Child Trust Funds you will have a couple of options:
- If the child is over 18 then the money will either be sitting in a matured account pending further instructions or will have been moved to an ISA. The child can decide to withdraw all of the money or continue saving into it via an adult ISA.
- If the child is under 18 then the Child Trust Fund has yet to mature and can either continue as a Child Trust Fund or could be moved into a Junior ISA.
Here is a list of Child Trust Fund providers. If the Child Trust Fund provider has yet to receive any instructions from the account holder, then the money must be placed in a protected account pending further instructions. This can mean the money is sitting in cash in a matured account or has been automatically placed in an ISA.
For those Child Trust Funds that have yet to mature, whether you keep them where they are or transfer them to a Junior ISA will depend on your saving options.
When do you want the money to pay out? What rates of interest are being offered? Or what investment options do you have?
Nowadays some of the bigger investment platform offer Junior ISAs with access to a large proportion of the investment market. Just remember though, if you do go for the investment option your money can fall as well as rise and you might not get back all that was put in. Investing is more for the long term.
If you would like to get your family financial affairs in order and create a protected succession plan then please get in touch for a free no obligation 15-minute call. We would be happy to review your position, explain where you stand and what you need to do to get the outcome you desire. We have created hundreds of happy and protected retirements over the years. This could be you too.
Stock market linked investments and any income from them, can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Any figures quoted are for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as a forecast or guarantee. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future returns and clients may get back less than they have invested.