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Junior ISA withdrawals: can you take money out of a Junior ISA?

Are parents able to withdraw from Junior ISAs accounts? This article discusses the rules concerning Junior ISAs, how they work, and who can make Junior ISA withdrawals. To find out more, please read on.

What is a Junior ISA

A Junior ISA (JISA for short) is a long-term, tax-free savings account that a parent or guardian can be set up for children under 18 years of age that are residents here in the UK. Although, if the child moves abroad after the JISA has been opened, you can still add cash to the account.

Only the parents or legal guardians of the child can open a JISA. The person opening the account is known as the registered contact. This person can:

  • Transfer a Cash JISA to a Stocks and Shares JISA (more on the different types of ISA below)
  • Change the account provider. (You should only ever choose account providers that are authorised and regulated by the Finacial Conduct Authority).
  • Advise the provider or HMRC of changes in circumstances

JISA withdrawal rules

All of the money paid into a Junior ISA belongs to the child and cannot be accessed by them until the child turns 18. In addition, the rules of Junior ISA withdrawals state that, except under specific circumstances discussed below, nobody but the child can withdraw money from a Junior ISA.

When the child reaches age 18, a JISA automatically converts into an adult ISA, and the child, now a young adult, assumes full control of the account.

If you are wondering can you withdraw money from a Junior ISA if the child dies, then the answer is still no, but in this unfortunate circumstance, the money eventually gets paid to those inheriting the estate.

Under what circumstances can parents withdraw money from a Junior ISA?

The only circumstance under which you can withdraw money from a Junior ISA account is if the child has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

In this instance, the definition of “terminal illness” means that the child has a disease or illness that will worsen and cause death within six months. For those unfortunate enough to explore this option, you will have to complete a terminal illness early access form from HMRC.

The different types of Junior ISA

There used to be another type of child savings account – the Child Trust Fund CTF). However, they were discontinued in January 2011 and replaced by Junior ISAs. You can continue to put money into a CTF opened before January 2011, but transfers into a Junior ISA were the preferred option for many parents. Only you can decide which option is the best kids’ investment vehicle.

There are two types of Junior ISA – a Junior Cash ISA and a Junior Stocks and Shares ISA. Which one you choose will be driven by your attitude towards risk. While a Cash JISA is considered a safe option, the potentially riskier Stocks and Shares JISA significantly outperforms it.

It is possible to mitigate risk by diversifying portfolios and only dealing with financial services companies registered in England and Wales under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

A child can have both types of JISA, but only one of each type can be opened in the same tax year. However, if you decide to open one of each to hedge your bets, as it were, you can do so. Also, you can initiate an ISA transfer of all or part of the funds from one account to the other.

Final Thoughts

Your child can take over their account management from the age of 16 and should be encouraged to do so. At that age, they can also make their own decision about an ISA transfer, and at the age of 18, they can make an ISA withdrawal if they so wish, as specified by their own financial planning. It’s never too early to start setting out your life goals.

Hopefully, you now know the rules of Junior ISA withdrawals a little more clearly, and the answer to the question of can parents withdraw money from a Junior ISA?

Whichever type of JISA you decide is best for your child, the beauty of all ISAs is that they are tax wrappers. The money put into them is subject to compound interest which applies interest on interest year after year, culminating in considerable savings.

As the money grows, it is protected from the taxman, and when your child, young or old adult, decides to start making withdrawals, these too will be tax-free.

The Junior ISA is one of the best investment vehicles for the children in your life.