Leaving a legacy for your grandchildren

Posted on: 29 July 2010 by Editor at Large

We all make providing for our loved ones a priority. This isn’t a commitment that ends when we die, especially when we want to leave a legacy for our grandchildren. Barrister Ian Grant explains how to make a will that safeguards this bequest.

Last Will & TestamentWhen people leave money to an adult son or daughter in their will, it’s usually in the hope that their grandchildren will benefit from the inheritance. While this is understandable, it can often ignore the cruel twists of fate that can happen in life. For example, you might leave money to your son to benefit your grandchildren. But what would happen should your son die before the grandchildren came of age? If his estate passes on to his widow, she could subsequently remarry, and possibly divorce. The bequest that was left to the son could end up as part of the divorce settlement. Your grandchildren could be left with nothing.

These unexpected pitfalls are easily avoidable with a correctly worded Last Will and Testament. This ensures that your wishes are carried out, and the gift to your grandchildren is fully protected.

The widely used legal mechanism for doing this is a trust provision in a will, under which your grandchildren would inherit when they come of age.  This also gives you the power  to decide the age at which they will inherit. Many still think of trusts as being a “fund” and only something that applies to the very wealthy. This is far from the truth. Even with modest sums the creation of a trust provision within your Last Will and Testament is something that should be considered.  If you choose not to allow your grandchildren access to their inheritance until the age of 25, this doesn’t mean that this money is locked away until then. A well worded provision can allow them limited access to the funds during the period of the trust, should they need it.

The key advice to anyone leaving a legacy is to consult a reputable professional, either a solicitor or a will writer from the Fellowship of Professional Willwriters and Probate Practitioners (FPWPP). They can assist you in the creation of your Last Will and Testament and advise you of the various trust provisions that can be made. It’s the best thing you can do to help provide for your grandchildren.

About Ian Grant

Ian Grant is a Barrister and is Regulatory Affairs and Compliance Manager at the FPWPP. He has extensive expertise in the field of Estates Planning and will writing, having headed up a probate department in his practice for several years. He is also an author and  lecturer in law. Ian's role at the Fellowship is to ensure that the regulatory arrangements for its members are robust and transparent.

For more information about the FPWPP, click here to visit their website.

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