Everyone is quick to imagine preparing their will at an old age when all their children have grown up and started their own families.
The unfortunate truth is that something could happen to you while you’re still starting a family. This means that your spouse and kids are all you have to inherit your assets.
In this blog, we’re going to discuss how your minor/minors can access your properties in the event of your demise.
Who Is A Minor?
According to United States laws, a minor or child is anyone below the ‘age of majority’ — 18 years old. In some states, the ‘age of majority’ is 21 years old.
A minor has a few limitations until they attain the majority age. Some of those differences include:
- Degrees of punishment for crimes
- Recognition by the law in terms of ownership of properties
- Access to some vital documents before reaching the age of majority
Can My Minor Child Inherit Property?
Following the definition above, we can see that the law does not recognize minors for property purposes.
So technically, if you have a child under 18 years old, they cannot inherit property. However, the law provides a remedy for the minors.
Before your minor can inherit property, some factors must be in place. These include:
#1. The Value of the Inheritance and Age of Majority
You may leave behind a personal object for your child to always remember you. Objects like a flower vase or a little pet have no considerable value. Your child can take possession of such assets and tend to them even if he/she is younger than 18.
Other properties like houses, companies, and cars have substantial value, and your child cannot use them.
The court will appoint a guardian to supervise everything concerning such property until your minor attains the age of majority.
#2. Parents and Guardians
Unless the court refuses, a parent can act as the manager of a minor’s inheritance until the minor attains the age of majority. So you can hold the property for your child if your child inherits the property of a close relative, like a grandparent.
Your spouse can hold the property you allocate to your child after your death as one of the parents of the child. Some states like California insist on a guardian who the court appoints, for a property of a particular value.
The court can also choose another adult or financial institution to hold the inheritance for the minor. It is mostly at the discretion of the court to do what is best for the child.
#3. Provisions of the UTMA
Many states are adopting the provisions of the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA). It provides that a person only needs to name the minor in their will as an heir and appoint a guardian to hold the property.
The guardian or custodian is the only person who has control over the inheritance as the minor attains the age of majority. Any other person has no control over the property.
#4. Testamentary Trusts
Another way your child can inherit property is if you or any other person sets up a testamentary trust in his/her will. A testamentary trust here means the appointment of a trustee to manage the property your child inherits until the child is old enough.
You can even select an age higher than the age of majority. When the minor attains that age, the child can now access the inheritance.
Contact Candice O’Neil
The law protects everyone and finds a way to accommodate even little ones in regards to their inheritance. Dedicated estate planning attorney Candice O’Neil is ready to help guide you through the process of including your children in your will and working through your estate plan. Contact her today.