What Age Is Too Young To Inherit An Estate?

Parents who are creating their estate plan may want to keep their children’s age in mind. When the unthinkable happens while the children are still young, trusts exist to oversee the funds and pay the child’s expenses until he or she is old enough to handle it on his or her own.

The question is, when is that? The legal age of majority for most things is 18. But in reality, are all 18-year-olds ready to handle a large sum of money? Does the thought of your young adult children fully inheriting your estate concern you?

Some scientists believe the human brain is not fully developed as we depart our teenage years. In face, some evidence suggests that the brain continues to grow up through about age 29, a period referred to as “emerging adulthood.” In other words, twentysomethings may not be capable of fully mature decision-making. They may not make smart decisions with their inheritance.

Just as a trust can put control of an estate in the hands of a trustee for young children, so too can it allow a trusted third party to handle it into the beneficiary’s adult years. Everyone matures at their own pace, so it may make sense for your children not to take control of your estate until they are in their 30s. In addition, by then they may have families of their own and the inheritance could go toward more important things, like a down payment on a house or a college fund.

Source: Gazette Newspapers, “ESTATE PLANNING: Age Matters When Receiving Inheritances,” Curtis Kaiser, July 22, 2013