As a parent, your child will always be “your child,” no matter what their age. But under Belgian law, your child is legally an adult on their 18th birthday. Turning 18 is therefore a milestone; not just for your child but also for you. And it is a milestone that demarks a series of changes to the legal and financial relationship you will have with each other going forward.
In Belgium, your child´s 18th birthday is a life changing event for a number of reasons.
Firstly, as full-time education in Belgium is compulsory for everyone below the age of 18, your child will be able to leave school, should they wish to do so. Not only will they be able to pursue a career, they will also be “obliged” to vote, as Belgium is one of the few countries where electoral voting is mandatory for all adults.
As an “adult” under Belgian law, your child will be granted full ownership of their bank account (and all monies held therein) once they turn 18. This includes the usual birthday gifts from family, as well as deposits you may have made over time on their behalf with a view to giving them a head start in life.
In the absence of prior consideration, the implications of this “transfer of ownership” can be profound. If the funds you intended your child to use for buying their first home are suddenly redirected to tickets for the Fyre Festival or the savings you deposited to facilitate an Erasmus Exchange program are instead moved to QuadrigaCX, what recourse (if any) do you have as a parent?
Although there are a few mechanisms that can be enacted in order to grant a parent power of attorney over their child´s financial affairs, none are possible without the child´s consent once they reach the age of 18. Therefore it is prudent to plan ahead if you wish to ensure a financially stable future for your progeny.
At Monnet Capital we believe in empowering your children through sound financial planning. But we are also fully cognisant that it is you, as their parent, who has the wisdom & experience required to help them make informed financial decisions, even after they turn 18. By assimilating our financial planning expertise with the judgment borne from your parental experience ahead of time, we believe it is possible to ensure that your children are financially prepared for what lies ahead.
As parents we all want our children to live productive lives but we also wish to retain a semblance of control over their financial decisions; at least until they have a modicum of life experience. It is, after all, “the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” - Aristotle
Monnet Capital has produced a series of free financial guides for you to download. In these guides you will find useful information and financial advice for international expats in Brussels & Belgium.