When a child turns 18, he or she legally becomes an adult and the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) will release the funds being held in trust, unless the child requests that the funds continue to be held. The PGT cannot hold the funds past the child’s 25th birthday.
Some parents may be concerned about their child receiving a large sum of money when he or she turns 18. However, the law provides that the child is entitled to the funds and the funds cannot be held back unless the child requests the PGT to continue to hold the funds. The funds cannot be held back simply because the child may not appear to be responsible or mature.
Parents are encouraged to discuss this with the child and provide advice and direction to the child with respect to managing his or her funds as an adult. Parents are also encouraged to assist the child to make arrangements to receive the funds from the PGT and to make arrangements for further investment of the funds.
There are some circumstances where children turning 18 may not have the mental capacity to manage their finances. These children will likely require support and assistance as adults, and alternative plans must be made for them. Substitute decision-making options should be explored, and legal advice should be sought.
If the child would like to make arrangements to withdraw the funds after he or she turns 18, the child should contact the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee. If they would like to withdraw only a portion of the funds and have the Office continue to hold the rest of the money, this can be done but no further withdrawals can be made unless it is for the balance of the funds. A copy of the child’s birth certificate will have to be provided if this has not already been done.
If the child does not have a bank account, it is recommended that they open one so that the money can be deposited directly to the bank account. If the child does not have a bank account, the payment will be made by cheque. This is not as quick or as safe as a direct deposit, and it might be difficult to cash the cheque.
The lump sum that is turned over to the child is not taxable income. However, the income that was earned on the money each year may be taxable, depending on the source of the funds. If the money was paid as a result of injuries suffered by the child, the income is not taxable until the year after the child turns 21. If the money is from other sources, then the income earned each year may be considered to be taxable income.
A T3 Supplementary Slip is issued each year to report the income. When the funds are withdrawn, a T3 Slip will be issued before March 31 of the next year to report the income.
The Office will also provide a Capital Gains Report to report the capital gains or losses resulting from the account being closed. This information will be needed for the child’s income tax return for the year that the money was withdrawn, and the child may have to pay income tax on any taxable capital gain, as well as the income that is reported on the T3 Supplementary Slip.