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Child Trust Fund: changes of circumstances you need to report

There are a number of changes of circumstances you need to report to keep your Child Trust Fund (CTF) up-to-date and to allow you to make decisions on the account. These changes may affect Child Benefit payments too. Find out which changes you need to report, to whom, and how to do it.

Change of name or address

You need to report if you change your name, or your child's name. Otherwise your CTF paperwork will be in the wrong name.

You also need to report a change of address so that any letters or statements are sent to the right place.

What you need to do

You need to tell one or both of the following:

  • your provider
  • the Child Benefit Office - if you get Child Benefit

You or your child go abroad

If you, or your child, move abroad, the account will remain open. Anyone can still add money to the account, even from abroad. Check with the account provider how you can do this.

Your Child Benefit payments may be affected if:

  • you go abroad for more than eight weeks
  • your child goes abroad for more than 12 weeks

You can find out more about this, and other changes by following the link below.

If the registered contact dies

If the registered contact for the CTF account dies, another parent, or someone else with parental responsibility for the child, will need to become the new registered contact.

You have parental responsibility if you are:

  • a parent
  • a step-parent
  • an adoptive parent
  • a guardian

If the person who has died was getting Child Benefit, their payments will stop.

If you are now the main carer for the child, you may be entitled to Child Benefit.

What you need to do

Contact the CTF account provider if you want to become the new registered contact.

The provider must be satisfied that the account no longer has a registered contact. Once they are, they will ask you to complete an application form.

If you don't know who the provider is, contact the Child Trust Fund Helpline.

If the person who has died was getting Child Benefit, or you now wish to claim Child Benefit instead, contact the Child Benefit Office.

Your child becomes terminally ill

If your child becomes terminally ill, you can contact the CTF Helpline to ask if you can take money out of your child's CTF account.

Only the registered contact can take the money out. You will need to provide evidence that your child is terminally ill.

Your child has died

If your child has died, the money in your child's account is usually paid to whoever inherits the child's estate (the child's properties and possessions).

Your Child Benefit may also carry on for a short time too.

What you need to do

Let the:

  • CTF provider know that your child has died
  • Child Benefit Office know if your child has died - if you get Child Benefit for them

If a local authority starts to look after your child

The local authority (or a health trust in Northern Ireland) will let HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) know if they start to look after your child. 

You can still manage the child's account if one of the following applies:

  • you get Child Benefit for the child
  • you're the registered contact

If HMRC has opened an account for your child, you can become the registered contact. This allows you to manage or change the account.

If a local authority starts to look after your child, your Child Benefit may be affected.

What you need to do

You need to:

  • get in touch with the account provider if you want to become the registered contact
  • let the Child Benefit Office know if a local authority has started looking after your child - the person who gets Child Benefit should do this

Adopting a child

You can only manage or change an account once the adoption is finalised.

You may also qualify for Child Benefit for your adopted child.

What you need to do

Once the adoption is finalised, you need to:

  • get the account details - either from the current registered contact or the Child Trust Fund Helpline
  • get in touch with the account provider to apply to become the new registered contact

Splitting up with a partner

The person who is the registered contact for the child’s account will continue to manage the account - even if you've split up.

You can become the registered contact instead if you have parental responsibility for the child, for example if you're the child's other parent or legal guardian.

What you need to do

If you want to become the registered contact, you and your former partner need to:

  • contact the account provider
  • confirm with the provider that both you and your former partner agree to the change

You will also need to report any change of name or address.

When your child is 16

When your child is 16, they take over managing their CTF account. This means they become the registered contact for the account.

Your Child Benefit may also be affected.

When your child is 18

When your child is 18 they can get the money in the account. The money belongs to your child so they will be able to decide what to do with it.

They can choose to carry on saving in another account or use the money as they think best.

Contact details

Child Benefit

You can report changes to the Child Benefit Office by:

  • using the Child Benefit online form for reporting a change of circumstances
  • calling the Child Benefit Helpline

They will update the CTF records they hold for you too.

Child Trust Fund Helpline

You can contact the Child Trust Fund Helpline.

Provided by HM Revenue & Customs who administer the Child Trust Fund

  • Source Direct Gov
  • Last Updated: 06 Jan 2012