For many people with minor children, a large concern is when their children will inherit their property and if the children will be able to responsibly handle that property. After all, I remember when I was eighteen and while your kids are likely much more responsible than I was, it would have been a disaster for me to have received a large sum of money at eighteen! The quick answer to this conundrum is for your Will to set up a trust for your children.
Trusts are used in a variety of a situations, but specifically in your Will, they generally are used when your children are young and you are concerned about them receiving their entire inheritance at too early an age.A trust can be set up whereby the executor of your will holds and manages all the assets designated for your kids for the benefit of your kids until they obtain a designated age. Essentially it is separating legal ownership, and the obligations that go along with that, from beneficial ownership. The beneficial owners are the persons who are ultimately entitled to receive the assets.
A trust carries with it a very high standard of care, as the person holding legal title has a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries. This means the trustee (or executor as is usually the case in a will) can be held liable for his or her actions if the beneficiaries do not believe the trustee is acting in their best interests. A trustee is not permitted to use any of the assets held in trust for his or her own purposes.
Naming a trustee for the trusts set up for your children can be a very big decision and you need to make sure you consider both the length of time the trust may run as well as the capabilities of the person named. Ideally, that person would be able to manage the assets in such a way that your children actually end up inheriting more than they would have received if they received the assets outright at your passing!
At Alberta Wills Online, we can set up very basic trusts in your will. For more complicated estate planning, we are happy to connect you with a law firm in your area.