Though courts can fix accidental designations of minors as recipients of inherited property, the solutions involve added complications (e.g., appointing a guardian or delaying property distribution), and there are number of steps testators can take to avoid such messes altogether. For example:
- Include in the will that the executor can distribute the property left to minor to a custodian instead.
- Give the executor the ability to use the funds left to the minor for the benefit of the minor.
- Create a contingent trust that is effective only if a minor is left property.
- Don’t name current minors as beneficiaries for any accounts.
- Remember to name a successor owner and contingent successor owner, if allowed, for all college savings accounts.
- Create inter vivos trusts with minors as the beneficiaries.
See Gerry W. Beyer, “Six Ways to Avoid Accidental Inheritance by Minors,” Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Aug. 15, 2014) citing Sandra W. Reed, “Estate Planning and Minors,” Your GlennroseTX (Aug. 7, 2014).
Posted by Morgan Yuan, Esq., Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.