Setting Up Trust For Your Child In Your Will

Les Kotzer

Les Kotzer

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Many parents feel that an outright gift to a child is not practical because those parents do not want that child to inherit a large sum of money outright when he or she reaches the age of majority.

Most parents would rather have the money managed and invested until the child reaches a more mature age. This is accomplished by setting up a trust in your Will. You can pick an age at which you feel your child will be mature enough to inherit outright. By setting up a trust in your Will, you can ensure that your executor, a person you trust, is managing and investing your child’s money until that child reaches the age you specified. This treatment is very different from an outright gift to your child at the age of majority, because in such a case, your child will be able to get his or her hands on the money and spend it, according to his or her own whim. Imagine your child, not yet 20′ years old, taking a big block of cash and buying an expensive sports car. You would probably rather see that same money being kept available to fund a college education for your child. This demonstrates why it is often important to set up a trust in your Will.

An important consideration in setting up a trust in your Will, also known as a testamentary trust, is to select the proper person to act as executor. The term executor, for the purposes of this article, should be regarded as interchangeable with the term trustee. You should be aware that you can have multiple executors.

If you are setting up a trust for your child until he or she reaches an age such as 25, you can have your will drafted so that you rustee has access to the funds required for your child’s maintenance, education, medical needs or any other matters which your trustee feels necessary for the general benefit of your child. This is commonly known as a power of encroachment. Your executor will have the ability to take money for your child’s legitimate needs as described above. Even though your child’s share of the principal will be frozen until your child reaches the age you specify in your Will, your trustee can nevertheless access the principal for those needs which the trustee feels require the expense of capital. it is obvious that your trustee is exercising a large amount of discretion over what money is going to be available to your child or for the benefit of your child. The trustee is carrying out his or her obligations as stated in your Will, but there may be occasional conflict between your trustee and your child.

In order to smooth out areas of conflict, it might be advisable for you to write a non-binding letter, separate and apart from your Will, expressing your true feelings about the type of discretion that your trustee should exercise after your death. For example, in this type of letter, you may express your wish that the trustee can use a child’s money for educational purposes but cannot use the money for an expensive European vacation or expensive sports car. A letter of this nature can be of great comfort to your trustee, because he or she can show your child the letter that sets out your true wishes as to how the trust money is to be treated.

Les Kotzer is a Wills lawyer with the law firm of Fish and Associates at 7951 Yonge Street in Thornhill. Les is a regular call in guest on the Barb DiGiulio show on Newstalk 1010. He has also appeared on CNN and was featured as a Canadian success story on the CTV National News. In 2013, Les was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubileee Medal for his work in Wills and helping to educate the public.

Les is pleased to offer a free Will review for those who have a Will and are not sure if it is up to date. He also offers a free will consultation, if you do not have a Will and are not sure where to start. To book a will appointment with Les you can call his office at 905-881-1500. You can also email him for an appointment at For more information, please visit or You can also email him for an appointment at

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