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Ask the Expert: Has the government given my child £500 in a child trust fund?

Carl Lamb, managing director of Almary Green

Carl Lamb, managing director of Almary Green

Archant

Our reader this week wants to know if her son is entitled to up to £500 in a child trust fund from the government. Carl Lamb of Almary Green responds.

Does your son or daughter have a government child trust fund you don't know about? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto.Does your son or daughter have a government child trust fund you don't know about? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto.

I’ve seen in the news this week that children born between 2002 and 2011 were given a sum of money by the government on their birth to put into a special children’s fund.

I have a son aged 16 this October and a daughter aged 14. I think I remember vaguely that we were told that we were entitled to this but I don’t think we ever took it up. Is it too late to get the money?

Response from Carl Lamb of Almary Green

Child Trust Funds were only around between September 1, 2002 and January 2, 2011, but any child born between those dates will have been allocated either £250 or £500, depending on the parents’ income, from the government to put into one of these funds.

You had the option at the time to choose what fund to hold the money but if you didn’t actively make a choice, the government would have placed your entitlement into one of their default funds.

If you’ve moved around since the birth of your children and haven’t told the fund provider your new address, you may not be receiving statements.

However, the fund will have continued to be invested either in a cash account that delivers interest or in a stocks and shares account that will hopefully have delivered investment growth, so should be worth more than the initial amount paid in.

If you want to find out where your children’s funds are held, you can do so via the government website at https://www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds. The online form must be accessed using a Government Gateway ID, so you’ll need to set one up if you don’t already have one.

It may be worth looking at your options with your children’s accounts: you could, for example, transfer the money in them to a Junior ISA or move funds from a cash account to a stocks and shares account.

One thing that is worth mentioning: the “registered contact” for the account (usually a parent) has control and responsibility for the account until the child reaches age 16.

At that point, the 16-year-old is allowed to manage his or her own Child Trust Fund Account – to decide how it is invested, for example. It’s because the first Child Trust Fund holders are now reaching their 16th birthday that there has been news coverage about the funds recently. Your son will have the right to manage his fund in October, but he can’t take money out of the account at this stage – he will have the right to do that at age 18.

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