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Blog » How old is old enough?

When making a will, you can decide when people will receive gifts you make. However, this raises the question – how old is old enough?

Exactly when a child becomes an adult is a vexing question. We expect children to be responsible for putting on their own seat-belts at 14 years old, but we don’t let them vote until they are 18!

These same conundrum exists for those who are gifting legacies to children in their wills.

Traditionally, gifts given to children in wills are held in trust by the trustees of the will until the child has reached the age of 20 years. This is the “age of majority” when the law recognizes a person as a full adult. In New Zealand, it is 20 years old (although many other citizenship rights – such as voting, getting married or joining the army – can be done before then).

When making a will you might want to think about what age you want  your children to be before they can access the legacies you have bequeathed to them. Too young and they may not treat it responsibly, but too old and they may not have the opportunity to full enjoy their gifts.

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