Bare trust - advance to minors?

I have an Attorney-client who acts for their aunt who lacks capacity to manage her finances. In the years before capacity was lost, the aunt set up two bank accounts for her nieces (i.e. the Attorney’s daughters). She would pay into them every so often etc. As the nieces were and still are minors (15 and 13), the aunt holds the sums as bare trustee.

The Attorney wishes to simply close the nieces’ accounts so they can benefit from the money now. The bank is refusing to allow the accounts to be closed as the Attorney cannot deal with “trust matters”. The LPA is silent.

On the one hand, this is not a ‘traditional trust’ and is really a nominee arrangement. However, I think the issue is really the fact that the nieces cannot give good receipt until they are 18. I am unsure whether we can use the statutory powers of advancement here because of the receipt issue.

Am I missing anything? I think the Attorney is stuck, quite frankly!

Gemma Hambright