Will drafting—gifts to minors

The following Private Client practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Will drafting—gifts to minors
  • Types of provision for minors
  • The meaning of ‘children’, ‘issue’ and ‘descendants’ in Will drafting
  • Illegitimate and adopted issue
  • Tax considerations
  • Lapse or failure of gifts

Will drafting—gifts to minors

This Practice Note provides an overview of considerations where a testator wishes to benefit minors in their Will. It also highlights other resources relevant to making gifts to minors.

Types of provision for minors

The starting point is that a gift to a minor beneficiary will need to be held for them until they reach 18.

There are, therefore, a number of options where a testator wishes to benefit a minor:

  1. a legacy may be vested in the beneficiary via the minor's parents or guardians on the testator's death if they have not reached 18

  2. the surviving spouse may be left the relevant estate for life, on the basis that if they do not survive the testator the assets will pass to surviving issue immediately or at a chosen age. See Precedents: Will—to spouse on flexible life interest trust, remainder to children absolutely and Will—to spouse absolutely, then to children absolutely

  3. a gift may be left contingently on the beneficiary reaching 18 (see below in relation to the lapse of gifts)

  4. a gift may be left on trust for minors where they are not in a position for the gift to vest absolutely. For an overview of the different types of Will trusts, drafting considerations and typical trust powers, see Practice Note: Contents of Wills—Will trusts

A testator who

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