There are a few things to consider when making gifts to children in a will. First, if a parent leaves property to his or her chidren without specifically naming them, it is assumed that includes any illegitimate children, children from a previous marriage or adopted children. Stepchildren are not included unless they are specifically named.

Second, if you leave valuable property such as money, shares, land interests and suchlike to a child, he or she will receive the property at the age of 18 unless the will states an older age, say 21, at which the property can be handed over. It is the job of the trustees to look after the property until the child reaches the stated age at which the property can be handed over. Typical ages at which children receive their main inheritance are 18 or 21 but a will can not state an age less than 18. However, trustees can use a proportion of the gift for the child’s maintenance, education or benefit before the child reaches the stated age.

Third, if a child of yours dies before you but leaving his or her own children (your grandchildren), these children will share the property which their parent would have inherited had the parent survived unless any subsequent beneficiary is excluded by the will.