The first Child Trust Funds (CTFs) are set to mature in September allowing those turning 18 to access their fund for the first time.

CTFs were tax-free children’s savings account set up by the Government, which were available to those born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011.

Parents or guardians of a child who was eligible for CTF would have been sent a starting payment voucher by HMRC of £250, or £500 for those on a low income, which could be used to set up a CTF account.

Once an account was set up, further deposits could be added up to £9,000 (2020-21) each tax year.

However, it is believed that thousands of potential CTF holders do not know they have one or have forgotten that one was set up in their child’s name.

Each account is managed by a ‘registered contact’ who can tell the account provider how to invest the fund and run the account, change the address and other personal details, change the type of account and move the account to another provider. They cannot, however, access funds in the account themselves.

When a child turns 16, they are allowed to take control of the account, but cannot withdraw money from it until they turn 18, at which point they can withdraw funds or transfer it to a different savings account. They can also continue saving into their CTF account should they wish to.

When a CTF was set up, the parent or guardian should have received the child’s Unique Reference Number, which will also appear on annual CTF statements. This will also include details of the account type and the provider. These account statements should have been received regularly once the account was set up.

However, some CTF accounts were set up by HMRC on behalf of the child and as a result, many children turning 18 may not be aware that they have a CTF account.

Any child born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011 who is turning 18 can check to see if they have an account by filling out a form on the gov.uk website by clicking here.

The scheme was replaced by Junior ISAs when it came to an end in 2011. As with CTFs, a Junior ISA cannot be accessed until a child turns 18. Money in a Junior ISA is also tax-free and up to £9,000 can be deposited into an individual account during the 2020-21 tax year.

Link: Child Trust Fund

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