We all look forward to seeing our children grow up and blossom into adulthood but sadly this is not possible for some parents.
Making provision within your Will as to how you would like your children to be bought up and by whom should the worst happen is of paramount importance.
Appointing guardians within your will ensures that those you would like to take care of your loved ones are able to do so.
A letter of wishes could also be kept with your will providing further guidance regarding aspects such as religion, schooling and people you would like them to be in contact with. Examples such as the following may be included;
“I would like my children to be encouraged to continue with their music lessons”
It’s important to note that a letter of wishes is not binding therefore you should consider choosing guardians who perhaps share your values.
In relation to financial aspects, children under the age of 18 (minors) cannot receive a legacy until they reach 18 years. If a childrens trust is not included within a will, a Statutory Trust may prevail which can be restrictive such as providing a right to all income for the inheritance on attaining the age of 18 years old even if the testator had preferred the child to have the capital at a greater age.
If Trustees are not specified or identifiable from the will then the courts may nominate representatives to act on the behalf of the children concerned in relation to the inheritance.
When seeking to include a childrens trust in their will, you should consider;
- What age should the child inherit the capital?
- Who should look after the money for the children
- Should money be available for maintenance?
- What should happen if a child pre-deceases a parent?
- Should money be available to guardians?
The Trustees do not have to be the same as the guardians that you chose. You may find it preferable that the financial management be separated from the day-to-day upbringing of children. The two tasks require very different skills and may not always be found in the same person. We always recommend that you appoint a minimum of two trustees.
If you would like to find out more please get in touch