I believe that very strongly.

Size may matter but age doesn’t. Mostly!

I often forget that I’m 54. I don’t feel it. I don’t look it and I certainly don’t act it!

And yet despite really being a 25 (ish) year old in a fabulously well preserved body, I still have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Despite my son’s insistence to the contrary, I really do know more than him.

This morning in a department meeting I was able to educate the younger members of the team on such important matters as what does bcc and cc actually mean/stand for and why! Who knew that being on the planet for so long would build up such information.

Understanding about how offices used to work (and what carbon paper is) might not be hugely useful, but knowing how much things have changed over the years can be invaluable. I know, for example, what it’s like to live through several recessions. What the world can look like when interest rates go sky high and there is mass unemployment. I remember the boom of the 80s and the bust in the 90s. I even remember the strikes of the 70s.

Most younger people may not know about these things but they are likely to have people around them who do. They are likely to have family who can offer guidance on how to save, what are good investments, why you can’t be guaranteed that you’ll still have a job in six months time and what to do if you run out of money. They can advise on how much things can change – such as if we get a change in government.

But imagine what would happen if you didn’t have that support?

Imagine how you might feel if the reason you didn’t have that support was because the people you should rely on suddenly weren’t around anymore.

Then imagine that someone gave you a chunk of money and left you to your own devices as to what to do with it.

Today you’d probably say that you’d invest it or at least know how, but if you were 18, or 21, would you know what to do?

Would you spend it?

Would you ask your friends (or people pretending to be your friends!) to help you, despite the fact that no amount of shopping and holidays will stop you missing your loved ones and dealing with your grief.

You’re probably all reading this thinking that you’d be sensible with the money, but you may be seeing it through your eyes of today. The eyes that know what life was like before the internet will have a very different perspective than those who think that same day Amazon delivery is normal and still think that they will live forever.

This, unfortunately, is a conversation I have to have with many people when they’re writing their wills.  We all still think that we won’t die young. Many of us believe that our children and grandchildren are perfect and that if they had to deal with adversity, such as being orphaned at a young age, they would cope. Some of them will, but I can tell you from experience, that many of them won’t. No matter how well you prepare them, your average 18 year old is just not as wise as they may appear, and even less so if they’ve had to deal with a personal tragedy such as losing a parent or two.

Which is why, when helping people make their wills, I always encourage them against having their children inherit too young. 18 is, in my opinion, too young. 21 is still on the early side. By 25 they might just be getting their act together. 30 is a good age.

But before you worry about how your kids would cope without the money until then, it’s worth remembering that simply because you say they can’t inherit until a later age, doesn’t mean they can’t access the money. It just means that they have to access it through the trustees that you appoint, and to whom you will have given instructions through a letter of wishes. You can give the trustees the power to use the money for your family’s health, welfare and education. You can restrict them from using the money for wild holidays, gambling and unwise investments. Whilst no system is ever perfect, this does provide for a lot more safeguards than just handing the money over to someone who probably doesn’t know the difference between an interest only mortgage and a repayment mortgage!

Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Aging disgracefully.