When leaving large sums of money and property to children, keep in mind that they are not legally able to control and use these assets until they are eighteen. Also consider that the amount of money left to them may well be directly proportional to the price of the sportscar they purchase on their eighteenth birthday.

The problems of leaving assets to minor children are best addressed by including a special trust in the body of your will. This provides instructions as to how and when these assets may be spent (for example, to pay for a college education) as well as how they must be protected and invested. A testamentary minor’s trust also specifies the age at which a child will receive the full balance of his or her trust. Since the trust will only operate after both parents have perished, consider that your child will not have the benefit of your insight and guidance when he or she turns eighteen. For that reason, it may advisable to provide that the balance of the trust will not be paid until the child is older –perhaps the age of twenty one or even twenty five.

The choice of trustee is important. You needn’t choose the same person you chose to be your child’s guardian. Select someone who is trustworthy and competent handling financial matters in a conservative manner. Your trustee should be young enough to be expected to still be able to manage your child’s affairs when your child reaches his or her twenties. Unless the trust is to consist of an unusually large sum of money (millions), do not consider having a bank serve as your trustee.

Most lawyers automatically include a provision that your trustee need not be bonded. This may not be a wise way to go even if you are totally convinced of the trustee’s honesty and ability. No one knows for sure what the future will bring and the relatively small cost to the trust to bond the trustee provides an added measure of protection that your child will be taken care of even if you are gone.