Please remember, the value of tax savings will depend on your and your child's circumstances and tax rules can change over time. Investments can go down in value as well as up, so your child might get back less than is invested.
There are many advantages to putting money away for a child while they’re still young. For one it gives money time to grow. It can also help to reduce the amount of inheritance tax (IHT) that might be paid in future.
Stock market investments are often seen as the best way to grow money over the long term, however there is the inherent risk that your child could get back less than is invested. A Junior Investment Account is simply a Fund & Share Account set up as a ‘bare trust’, where assets are held by a ‘trustee’ (e.g. parent or grandparent) for the future benefit of a ‘beneficiary’ (e.g. a child or grandchild).
Why open a Junior Investment Account?
Simple to set up and start investing for a child’s future
All children are eligible and there are no investment limits
Withdrawals can be made at any time, although they must be used for the benefit of the child (e.g. to pay school fees)
Assets (e.g. money or investments) paid into the trust will either fall within an IHT exemption or be a Potentially Exempt Transfer, so could form part of your IHT planning
Holding assets in trust for a child can have a number of tax benefits, both in the short and long term. In the short term it can help to reduce the amount of tax paid on investment returns, and in the long term it can reduce the value of an estate so less inheritance tax needs to be paid. See ‘What is a bare trust’ below for more information. Tax rules can change and benefits depend on individual circumstances.
It’s also possible to open a Fund & Share Account that’s designated to a child. However this does not create the same legal arrangement as a bare trust, and there are fewer, if any, tax benefits to be had.
Bare trusts might sound complicated to set up but the opposite is true. It’s simply a case of
applying for an account and confirming your intention to create a bare trust by completing the Election for Bare Trust form.
A trust is a legal, binding arrangement where money or assets are held by a person (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary). Trusts are useful for saving for children because they allow you to pass on assets before children are old enough to hold them. They are also useful for inheritance tax (IHT) planning as gifts to trust can reduce the value of your estate, and therefore the amount of IHT needing to be paid in future.
Bare trusts are the simplest type of trust. They are set up when a ‘donor’ (frequently a grandparent) makes an irreversible gift into an account where a child is named as the beneficiary. There are normally two trustees – the donor often chooses to be a trustee so they can remain in control of how the money is invested.
One of the other tax benefits of bare trusts is that any gains or income belong to the child and are taxed as such, meaning there is often little or no tax to pay. An exception to this rule is income on gifts from parents – if the income exceeds £100, it’ll be taxed as if it belongs to the parent.
The child is automatically entitled to the assets held in a bare trust when they turn 18. Usually the money remains in trust until that time, however the trustees may be able to withdraw money earlier as long as it’s for the benefit of the child (e.g. to help with school fees).
More information on trusts is available from https://www.gov.uk/trusts-taxes.
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To open a Junior Investment Account and set up a bare trust, download and complete the
application and Election for Bare Trust forms. You should keep copies of the forms as evidence of your intention to set up a bare trust. When you apply you can choose to make a lump sum payment, and you can also set up a direct debit for regular monthly payments into the account.