Te tamaiti or rangatahi in care should have their own bank account for their pocket money, personal earnings or other income – there needs to be some consideration given to the best way to manage that account, including what access te tamaiti or rangatahi has to the account. Most banks require a parent or guardian to open a bank account on behalf of te tamaiti or rangatahi under a certain age, which varies from bank to bank. It's important to involve tamariki and their family/whānau in decisions around their finances, where possible.
If the income of te tamaiti or rangatahi is more significant than pocket money or job earnings (e.g. compensation or trust monies), then it may be appropriate to place the monies in a trust account for te tamaiti or rangatahi to use in the future. Any monies held in trust or in a bank account of te tamaiti or rangatahi in the care of the chief executive are the property of te tamaiti or rangatahi and are held for their benefit. The funds are not to be used for any other purpose.
Seek advice from your site solicitor regarding establishment of a bank account or trust account, or in the case of receipt of compensation or trust monies.
Authority to control the income and earnings of a young person in care is provided for under s390 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.
There is no specific requirement for te tamaiti or rangatahi to make a will – this is a decision for them to make. However, any person over the age of 18 years who is under the guardianship of the chief executive and who has a significant amount of assets or money invested would be well advised to make a will.
Rangatahi between the ages of 16 and 18 years can make a will if they so choose. There are a number of specific legal requirements that need to be met in this scenario, including an application to the Family Court. Speak to your site solicitor for more information.