When I was 17 I was in a car accident resulting in damage to my spine requiring months of physiotherapy...
…I was awarded several thousand pounds in compensation from the guilty party’s insurance company and to this day I still have regular pain in my back.
When I was 18, a very wise taxi driver told me that ‘’this isn’t the rehearsal love, this is the real thing’’. Taking his advice on board, I then took that car crash money and spent it on a ticket to New Zealand.
I packed a bag and subsequently left the Country alone. No one, least of all my mum thought I was actually going to go, until she found herself sobbing on my shoulder in Heathrow airport where I then merrily waved her and my dad goodbye and set off on my ‘adventure’. #YOLO, (You Only Live Once, for those unfamiliar with teenage hashtags).
Fast forward a year and I returned home- skint.
If that compensation had been inheritance I’d have done exactly the same thing. Whilst I didn’t do anything technically wrong in how I spent that money, it definitely wasn’t the most sensible way to spend a lump sum of cash.
When you are writing your Will and leaving money to someone currently under 18 years old, I would recommend that you think very carefully about what age you would like them to inherit at, as if you don’t stipulate an age they will automatically inherit at 18.
This may actually be what you want and that’s fine, but if it isn’t, you need to say so in your Will.
If you do decide to specify a different age for your beneficiaries to inherit at, such as 21 or 25, depending on how your Will is worded you can give your trustees (the people named within your Will as being in charge of the funds) guidance on how it can be spent, prior to your beneficiaries reaching the specified age. Reasons often include things like education or buying a property.
The main thing is to make sure that you do have a valid Will and that you have thought through the potential implications of the gifts that you may be making.
As I have said in previous articles, I believe that inheritance should be the good thing that comes from a sad situation- the silver lining if you like. It’s within your power to make sure that it is.
For more information on writing your Will please contact me on 01903 821010 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org