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