Updating your will when your child turns 18

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2020 | Estate Planning |

If you initially wrote a will when your child was born, you may want to update that will when they turn 18. This is the bare minimum; it is often wise to update the will far more often than that. However, like having a child initially, seeing that child become a legal adult is a massive milestone in your life and you need to think of the legal ramifications.

For instance, maybe you chose guardians for your child in your initial estate plan. Now, at 18, your child is legally an adult. Even as a parent, you can no longer control their decisions or make these decisions for them, and they also do not need a legal guardian if you pass away. The exception to this is if they have special needs or some other circumstance that means they cannot take care of themselves, but most 18-year-olds — though they will always feel like young children to their parents — do not need outside care.

You may also want to think about how to give your inheritance to the child at that age. They’re an adult, so, if you just leave them a lump sum, they can do whatever they want with it. That is their right. If you have something specific in mind, you may want to use a trust to leave them the money. For example, an educational trust means that they can only use the money for educational purposes until they graduate from college. Just telling them you’d like them to use it a certain way carries no legal obligations. A trust does.

As you go through your estate plan and begin making these critical updates, you need to know what steps to take.