Many people don’t realize that minors can’t legally inherit property. Naming a minor in your will or trust must be done with carefully crafted language. If not, the court will intervene and take control of the gift. As a result, much money and time are wasted.
It’s important to have a basic understanding of these 8 important, minor related, estate planning terms. If you have questions or have a minor in your life, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.
Any individual, age 17 or younger is a minor. Even though they think they’re all grown up, they’re not.
A trust created for a minor or young adult.
No, it’s not the janitor. A “custodian” is an adult named to manage property left to a minor under the UTMA or UGMA (i.e. Uniform Transfer to Minors Act and Uniform Gift to Minors Act.)
Lineal offspring such as children and grandchildren are descendents.
The person either named in the will or appointed by the court to manage the minor’s property.
Guardian of the Person
The person either named in the will or appointed by the court to take care of and make decisions for a minor. Such decisions include school, welfare, life-style, and medical decisions. In other words, the guardians of the person are the people who raise the kids if the parents are disabled or deceased.
A child who is not named in or not provided for in a will. Most states assume that if a child is not named, it is an error. A pretermitted heir inherits his fair share. If you wish to disinherit a child (or grandchild), you must explicitly do so.
Uniform Transfers (or Gifts) to Minors Act
The state law that regulates how assets can be transferred to a minor.
Do you have a minor that you care about in your life? If so, be sure to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney when creating your estate plan.