As parents we all worry in the back of our heads about our children being cared for after we are gone. Hopefully we all get to see our children grow into adulthood and never have to worry about guardians and leaving money to minor children. As the saying goes, "hope for the best, plan for the worst."
In most states a person under the age of 18 cannot directly inherit money & property and be in control of it. Rather, the laws require that a third party be appointed to manage and care for the minor's assets.
This third party can be a custodian or a trustee depending on the type of Estate Plan involved.
In the event you have a Will based Estate Plan, or no Estate Plan at all, the third party will mostly likely be referred to as a custodian. You can name a custodian in your Will. If you have no Will a judge will appoint a custodian. In either case, the custodian must be approved and appointed by a judge.
In the event that you have a Trust based Estate Plan, you can leave your children's inheritance to them in a Trust and select the Trustee for that Trust. Absent some unforeseen turn of events, there is no need for a judge to get involved.
Also, the people you choose as guardians for your children can, and often should, be different than the person you name as Trustee or Custodian. That way your children can have the best of both world after losing everything; the right people raising them and the right people looking after their inheritance.
If you'd like to learn more about leaving money and property to minors, please schedule a complimentary Strategy Session with me.
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