What would happen to my children’s inheritance if I died whilst they are still young?

This would depend on whether or not you had a Will in place.

If you die without a Will (intestate) your estate will be distributed under the rules of intestacy. The rules of intestacy provide a strict order of who will inherit from you depending on your legal relationships with people, for example, whether you are married or have biological children. Unfortunately, the intestacy rules are rather outdated and won’t recognise relationships such as step-children or unmarried partners, so often those people you would have liked to benefit won’t be considered.

Depending on your own circumstances your children may not inherit anything under an intestacy or may only receive a small proportion. If your children are entitled to some of your assets, they will not be able to receive any of this directly until they reach the age of 18. This means that their inheritance will need to be looked after until then.

The people who look after this inheritance will likely be the same people that would have sorted out your affairs after death, but this is not always the case and it may be that someone is appointed to act in this role who you wouldn’t have chosen.

The best way to make your wishes known regarding your children’s inheritance is to make a Will. Not only can your Will clearly set out who should be appointed to manage your children’s inheritance, you can also advise when they receive their inheritance (you may understandably feel that 18 is too young to inherit) and you can provide directions to your trustees (the people who will look after their inheritance) on what they should do with the funds whilst your children are under age.

As well as considering who should look after your children’s inheritance you should also consider who would look after them day to day if you are no longer around. A Will let’s you choose guardians for your children as well as trustees.

If you want to ensure you have a Will in place to make provision for your children, please contact us today on 03300 250137 or at hello@sterlingtrustlaw.co.uk.

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