Minor

Many people focus on naming adult beneficiaries and managing the disposition of their assets.

However, the key consideration in estate planning often involves the inclusion of minor beneficiaries. 

Understanding how minors can be incorporated into wills and estate planning is crucial.

This requires special attention to protect their best interests and financial well-being.

Naming Minors As Beneficiaries

One common scenario in estate planning is naming a minor child as a beneficiary in a will.

This may involve bequeathing the minor’s assets, property, or financial accounts.

However, there are some important factors to consider when making this decision.

Guardian Designation:

When naming a minor as a beneficiary, it is essential to designate a guardian responsible for managing the assets on the minor’s behalf.

This is until they reach the age of majority.

The guardian plays a crucial role in overseeing the financial welfare of the minor and ensuring that their needs are met.

Trusts For Minors:

Many individuals establish trusts for minor beneficiaries to provide additional protection and control.

Trusts allow for more specific instructions regarding asset distribution and can dictate how and when the minor beneficiary gains control of the assets.

Common trust options include testamentary, living, or education trusts, each with unique purposes.

Age Of Majority:

The age at which a minor beneficiary gains full control over their inherited assets.

State laws typically determine it. It is often 18 or 21, but it can vary.

Some estate planners opt for delayed distribution, setting the age at 25 or 30 to ensure the beneficiary has more life experience and financial maturity when they inherit.

Special Considerations For Minors

When including minors in estate planning, several critical considerations should not be overlooked:

Minor’s Needs:

Considering the minor’s needs when planning for their inheritance is essential.

This includes educational expenses, healthcare, housing, and other financial support they may require before reaching the age of majority.

Taxes:

Estate planning involving minors may have tax implications, and it’s crucial to be aware of the tax consequences related to transferring assets to a minor.

Consulting with a tax advisor can help minimize tax burdens.

Example 1: Emily – The Budding Artist

Emily is an 11-year-old girl who lives in a small, picturesque town.

She has always been passionate about art; her talent shines through in her vibrant and imaginative drawings.

Her bedroom walls are adorned with colorful creations, and she’s even won a few local art competitions.

Background Scenario:

Emily’s parents, Sarah and Mark, both work in creative fields. Sarah is a graphic designer, and Mark is a musician. They have always encouraged Emily’s artistic pursuits and have enrolled her in art classes at the local community center. Emily often spends her weekends painting in her backyard garden, surrounded by her parents’ paintings and instruments. She dreams of becoming a famous artist one day and loves visiting art galleries and museums for inspiration.

Example 2: Jacob – The Aspiring Astronomer

Jacob, a 13-year-old boy, lives in a suburban neighborhood with his parents and younger sister.

From a very young age, he has been fascinated by the mysteries of the universe and received a telescope as a birthday gift.

Background Scenario:

Jacob’s father, Dr. Michael Turner, is an astrophysicist who works at a nearby university, and his mother, Lisa, is a science teacher at a local middle school. Jacob often listens to his father’s stories about black holes, galaxies, and space exploration. The family frequently goes stargazing in their backyard on clear nights, and Jacob has even assisted his father with some basic astronomy research projects.

Jacob is an active member of his school’s science club and has a small observatory in his bedroom.

He reads astronomy books, watches documentaries, and enthusiastically follows the latest space missions.

His dream is to become an astronaut and explore the cosmos.