Having too much, too soon has been the cause of the ruin of many a life. Worried that this might be the fate awaiting her child, a mother recently went to court to delay the entitlement of her three-year-old son to an estate of nearly £750,000, which would otherwise be made available to him on his 18th birthday or prior marriage or civil partnership.
The boy’s father had inherited the £500,000 estate of his father. He died some months later and his partner, the boy’s mother, made no claim on his estate. As the man had left no will, the estate was held in trust for his son until he was an adult.
The estate was accordingly being held in trust by the boy’s mother and the brother of the deceased. The family wished to delay the boy’s legal entitlement to his inheritance until he had reached the age of 30. To this end, his mother went to court for an order varying the terms of the trust.
The judge could not agree that a delay until age 30 was warranted as events could occur in young adulthood that would make it unfair that the beneficiary could not have access to the trust assets. However, the judge did approve a staged approach and varied the trust terms so that the boy will receive the right to the income arising from the trust assets when he turns 18, 10 per cent of the estate fund at the age of 21 and the rest of the fund when he is 25.