If you were to die while your children are under 18 and you were not married and had not made a valid Will, then your children will inherit your estate.
Well that’s exactly what you would want isn’t it? But maybe it wouldn’t turn out as you expected!
As your children will share your estate unless you make a Will saying otherwise, it will be their parent, i.e. your former partner who will be responsible for administering your estate and, together with another person whom he or she chooses, will decide when and in what circumstances the children can have their money. Your former partner could decide, for example, that the children could ‘have their money’ by your estate paying for luxury holidays for the whole family.
At the age of 18 the children then automatically become entitled to whatever their mum or dad has left in the estate for them, just at a time when they may be very likely to squander it.
By making a Will you can appoint people you trust to look after the children’s money wisely and you can specify that they can only have an automatic right to what is in the trust fund at a later age that you think is right for them e.g. 21 or more often 25.
Your Will can allow the people you appoint (called trustees) to use the trust fund to help with maintenance and education until the children grow up and you will know that you have chosen people you can trust to do that.
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