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Best Age for Children to Receive Assets

As an estate planning attorney in Folsom, I have many clients who have minor children. As such, they often seek advice on how to go about distributing their assets to these children and what age is most appropriate.

The age at which it’s best to distribute assets to minor children can vary depending on your individual circumstances, goals, and the legal and financial structure of your estate plan. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Outright Distribution at Adulthood (18 or 21): In many jurisdictions, when a child reaches the age of 18 or 21, they are considered adults and can legally receive their inheritance. In California, the age of majority is generally 18. This is the simplest and most straightforward option, but it may not be the best choice for all families, especially if you have concerns about financial responsibility or the maturity of your children.
  2. Delayed Distribution (25, 30, or Older): Many people choose to delay asset distribution until their children are older and hopefully more financially responsible. This can be done at specific ages, such as 25, 30, or even older. Delayed distribution provides time for your children to mature and make more informed decisions about how to manage their inheritance.
  3. Education-Based Distribution: Some families set up a trust that distributes assets for specific purposes, such as funding education. The trust might disburse funds to cover college tuition, vocational training, or other educational expenses. This approach encourages investment in education while delaying access to the remaining assets.
  4. Income-Based Distribution: Another option is to set up a trust that distributes income generated by the assets rather than the principal. This ensures that your children receive financial support without immediate access to the underlying assets. The trust can specify when and how the principal will be distributed.
  5. Life Events or Milestones: You can structure the distribution of assets to coincide with certain life events or milestones, such as marriage, the birth of children, or reaching a specific career or financial achievement.
  6. Gradual Distribution: Instead of a one-time lump sum, you can structure the distribution as a series of incremental payments over several years, helping to provide financial support over time.
  7. Trusts with Flexible Terms: Some trusts offer flexibility in distribution terms, allowing trustees to adapt to changing circumstances or the individual needs and financial maturity of beneficiaries.

When deciding on the best age for asset distribution to minor children, consider the following factors:

  • The financial maturity and responsibility of your children.
  • Their education and career plans.
  • Their financial needs and goals.
  • Family dynamics and relationships.
  • Potential creditors or legal liabilities they may face.
  • Your values and intentions for the assets.
  • Any conditions, milestones, or goals you want to set for the distributions.


It’s essential to work with an experienced estate planning attorney in Folsom to create a plan that aligns with your goals and the unique needs of your family. Keep in mind that the ideal age for distribution may vary from one child to another, and you can create different plans for each child within your estate plan. Periodic reviews and updates to your estate plan may be necessary as your family’s circumstances change over time. If you have any questions about the best age for children to receive assets, contact Thapar Law at 916-579-0605 or send us a message.

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