The importance of your Will when you have children under 18.
A will is extremely important to have in place but more so when you have a child or children under the age of 18 years. There are a number of reasons why this is so which we have listed for you below.
- A Will ensures an appropriate person controls your assets/money and holds them on trust until the child reaches an age they can receive those assets/money.
- In your Will you can nominate an age higher than the minimum age of 18 years for your child to receive money to ensure that they do not receive the bulk of the money and waste it while they are still young (on things like expensive cars or overseas holidays). By increasing the age your child is to receive your estate to say 21 or 25 they may have matured enough to utilise the funds to advance their future (such as investing in property).
- In your Will you can appoint a testamentary guardian who will make those parental-type decisions for your child until they turn 18. In addition, you may like to also consider leaving guidelines for your testamentary guardians (such as the type of education and accommodation you would prefer for your child). See our page for more information on the appointment of Testamentary Guardians.
- If your child has a severe disability you could incorporate a child disability trust. See our page for more information on the incorporation of a child disability trust.
- The proceeds of your superannuation (including any related life insurance policy) does not automatically go to your child through your Will. If your superannuation is not dealt with in the form of an appropriate nomination, the proceeds of your superannuation fund are generally paid to your child as a pension at a fixed amount until they reach a certain age . This means that the amount of the pension may not be sufficient to cover your child’s accommodation, health and/or education expenses. If your superannuation policy and/or life insurance is your biggest asset (or one of your biggest assets) then you may benefit from some estate planning to ensure the funds are paid in bulk to your estate and are then paid for the benefit of your child as and when your executor sees fit. See our page for more information on superannuation.
- If you are concerned about taxation consequences or are wanting to protect your child from his/her future self (such as from a possible bankruptcy, the child being spendthrift or suffering from an addiction or your child’s assets falling into the hands of a third party) then it may be prudent to incorporate a testamentary discretionary trust within your Will. See our page for more information on a testamentary discretionary trust.
Otherwise, visit one of our offices to speak with an experienced estates laws solicitor that will be happy to answer any of your questions.