Are you a parent to a child born between 2002 and 2010? If so, they could have thousands of pounds sitting forgotten in a savings account somewhere. There are estimated to be some 1.5 million forgotten Child Trust Funds in the UK; savings accounts that were launched by the Labour Government to help families save money for their children.
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While Labour were in power, parents of young children received £250 to open a Child Trust Fund account, which was topped up with a further £250 when they turned seven. This was doubled for some low income families, amounting to a free £1,000 of savings.
1.5 million Child Trust Funds are believed to have been forgotten about
Families were able to top up with their own additional savings for their children, and if parents didn't open an account on time, it was opened on their behalf by the Government. However new research from ISA provider Scottish Friendly has suggested that a quarter of Child Trust Funds could be "zombie accounts" that have since been forgotten about by parents, meaning thousands of pounds are sitting unused in these accounts.
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The research also estimates that 1.5 million of the 6.3 million Child Trust Funds have never received any additional payments other than those made by the government, so may well be long forgotten. The money in these Child Trust Funds can be transferred to a Junior ISA, a tax-free savings pot that may offer better rates for families. Here's how to find out if your child has a lost Child Trust Fund and how you can access it.
How do I find a lost Child Trust Fund?
You should have received a Child Trust Fund voucher if your child was born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011, or you were eligible for child benefit. You can search for a lost Child Trust Fund at hmrc.gov.uk/tools/childtrustfundclaim/ctfaccount, but you can only search if you are the child's parent, step-parent or legal guardian. You will have to enter your contact details and your child's details, then HM Revenue and Customs will write to you within 15 days.
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How do I move a Child Trust Fund to a junior ISA?
If you would prefer to move the money from your Child Trust Fund into a junior ISA, first you should find a suitable junior ISA provider and ask if they will accept Child Trust Fund transfers and whether you will have to pay a fee. Once your account is set up, share the details of the Child Trust Fund with your junior ISA provider so they can make the transfer.
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