How to set up a fund for the grandchildren; how to find an executor

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Estate planning expert Rod Cunich answers your questions on trust funds and executors.


Q. Anne*
How do I go about creating some sort of trust fund/account for my grandchildren? I would want it set up so that they would not receive the funds until the age of 25. I believe this to be a suitable age for them to be mature enough to know how to best use this inheritance. Is it possible to do this?

A. Yes, you can set up a trust fund that distributes a benefit to a named beneficiary on reaching a specific age. It can be established while you are alive or through your will. There are pros and cons for each. Any specialist estate planning lawyer can talk you through the options and draft the documents once you provide all the details. 


Q. Robert*
I have a problem in getting someone to be the executor of my will.  I do not have anyone who I consider suitable and I don’t want to have my will drawn up by Public Trustees. I have approached two lawyers and asked if they can draw up my will and also be executors. They declined to assist me because they said there might be a conflict of interest if they are executors.

My mother, who passed away three years ago, had her will drawn up by a lawyer who was also named as executor and he acted in this capacity after mum passed away. Is it illegal for a lawyer to draw up somebody’s will and also act as executor?

A. It is not illegal for a lawyer to be appointed an executor. If that same lawyer drafted the will and witnesses it, there can be problems getting paid for acting as executor. This is commonly avoided by having one solicitor draft the will and appointing another solicitor as executor, preferably from a different law firm. It is a bit fiddly, but when you have no options it is worth the effort. 

* Not their real names

Have you had difficulty appointing an executor? Have you had other estate planning difficulties?

Rod Cunich is a lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience who specialises in estate planning. He is also the author of Understanding Wills and Estate Planning.

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Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for the ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

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Total Comments: 5
  1. 0

    There will always be problems trying to give effect to orders from the grave. In Queensland, the Public Trustee can help but my personal experience with them had me concerned about a few issues relating to staffing, interest and timeliness which of course, I can’t take the risk to elaborate on. We spent quite some time getting the mix right when it came to providing for those we care about. Eventually, our wills were prepared by a solicitor and provisions made for executors to use outside help to ensure that the grandkids had access to something for their education prior to becoming in control of their bequests.We chose 30 as their age of majority. Bequests to institutions are best made as a percentage of the estate rather than a fixed amount.

  2. 0

    When my mum died, her solicitor and I had joint executor positions. He did all the paperwork, and finances. I was responsible for distributing the personal items. Worked out well. We split the Executors fee, which came as a surprise. I wasn’t expecting that.

  3. 0

    Stay away from the public trustee, they only want to control your finances for the government.
    Family disputes can cause the trustee to take more control against the wishes of the will writer.
    They have caused lots of harm to families with no good outcomes and lots of pain.

    • 0

      Agree that its best to stay away from the Public Trustee regardless what state you are in.They are a fund manager with a misleading title and,as confirmed by the Ombudsman to me,can do whatever they like with your money.They make the banks look like angels when it comes to admin charges.

  4. 0

    Stay away from the Public Trustee. In ACT they used to take a percentage of the Estate and I was looking at a six figure payment for them to act as Executors. I quickly declined.



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