Think back to being 18 years old. What were you interested in? Cars? Traveling? Freedom? Things you wouldn’t admit to your kids? Now think about what you would have done if someone had handed you a large sum of money when you were 18. We’d all like to tell ourselves we would have invested it, used it to keep those college loans more reasonable, or done some other, incredibly responsible thing. Maybe some of you would have. When I was 18, a friend of mine did get a large sum of money. He inherited about $100,000 that had been left to him with the intention of paying for his education. However, the money did not have any legal stipulations attached to it. My friend wasn’t particularly irresponsible, but he was an 18-year-old kid with a bunch of money. As you might guess, that money was long gone by the time he was out of college and had nothing left when it was time to start his own family. It’s important to ensure that your children are provided for. It’s also important to ensure that the money intended for that purpose is used responsibly.
After naming a possible guardian for your children, the next most important thing is to protect your children from themselves. No matter how responsible or frugal you think you’ve raised your kids to be there’s a certain level of irresponsibility people experience as young adults that go along with not being under their parents’ watch all the time.
Proper estate planning for anyone with children should definitely include having a Trust set up to help prevent your children from making monetary decisions you wouldn’t want them to make. Whether the Trust is built into the will or set up as a living trust, the Trust provides the necessary flexibility to limit when your children get their inheritance and can help set them up to make their life less stressful as they start their own family. In fact, the stipulations you can place in a trust are practically endless!
The question to think about before properly completing your estate plan is “How old is old enough?” Once you figure that out, make sure you incorporate this decision into your family’s plan.