What Happens if a Minor is a Beneficiary?  [Wills & Trusts]

When preparing for how the lives around you will be affected when you pass away, you want to make sure those who depend on you will be kept financially secure.

When property gets left directly to a minor beneficiary, such as through communal ownership of property (joint ownership of property) or a payable-on-death (POD) account, the minor doesn’t have legal authority to take control of these assets due to their minor status.

What Happens if a Minor is the Beneficiary of an Inheritance from Will or Trust?

In the event a minor receives property or money valued at $20,000 or less, many states will allow an adult (typically a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle) to request the minor’s inheritance to be transferred to a custodial account held in the minor’s name.

Inheritance Under $20,000

If the state of residence for the minor doesn’t allow inherited funds to go into UTMA, UGMA or 529 accounts, or if the value of the inheritance is greater than $20,000 – then the minor will need to have a guardianship established through the court system.

Inheritance Over $20,000

If you have not laid out specific instructions through a will about who will become the guardian of the minor, a court hearing will take place where all interested parties have the opportunity to testify about who they believe should manage the minor’s inheritance until reaching the age of majority.

Letting a Judge Decide (with Input)

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