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18468 posts

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# 220145 27-Jul-2017 17:55
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I am one of two administering a Will as an Executor. Assets all liquidated, the beneficiaries are due their amount when their age is met. No problem there.

 

There is a term "apply for the maintenance, education, or benefit of any minor beneficiary [that they are or will be entitled to, etc, etc]

 

 

 

This means that we can allow any funds to be advanced early, an example is education, which we are doing for one beneficiary. Another appropriate use is if there were a desire to purchase a home. Better now than later for the beneficiaries future. A wonderful use of the funds. Note that the age of entitlement is 26, not the typical 21. The issue is one wants funds to outfit a flat, literally top to bottom, cat=r, TV and so on as a baby is due. Age is under 20. The term in the Will is quite typical, I assume. But its vague. I take maintenance as a situation where there is a personal need, or affecting the personal life that cannot wait, and is very necessary. What however does "benefit" mean? That can mean anything. The lawyer is of the opinion that education, buying a house, and other very necessary things are appropriate. But the word "benefit" isn't helpful. He doesn't feel there is a legal or judicial definition. I can add the intent and attitudes of the deceased as to her desires, but I assume the real need is some form of definition of maintenance and benefit in the context of a Will

 

Another issue, is the word minor. Thats 20 or under here. What happens when they reach 21? 

 

TIA

 

 


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18468 posts

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  # 1832615 28-Jul-2017 07:12
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Geektastic:

 

It's a bit like drafting a Trust Deed.

 

The Trustees will usually be placed in the position of having to use their best endeavours to determine some aspect of the Settlor's intent. The courts would usually only expect people in those positions to do the best they can. As long as you've taken professional advice, not acted in contravention of it and the trustees (or, in this case, executors) have discussed it and agreed a course of action that the man on the Clapham Omnibus would not consider unreasonable  it is unlikely the court would consider that you should have done more (what more can you do, for a start?) although I guess you never know with the law.

 

If it were me, I would personally define benefit in this context as being something that has lasting positive outcomes for the beneficiaries. I'd say that within that sort of area you as executors are actually entitled to use your judgement and that the person who made the will intended you to do so because otherwise they would have been absolutely specific and left it (for example) as education and maintenance.

 

 

Thats where we see it. When they are due, they make whatever choice they like. When they are not due, but request funds, the bolded must apply, as distinct from cool, I want this I want that. Thats why the age is 26


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