In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson shares his best advice about providing for young beneficiaries in your estate plan.
This is a season that is a lot about the excitement of giving gifts to children and seeing the excitement in their eyes, so maybe this is a good time to talk about providing for young people in your estate plan. It can be a good idea, but there can be some hazards to it. If somebody isn’t yet 18 years old, they can’t legally own money, and so if you’ve left money to them outright (share the estate specific amount,) it might be necessary to get a court guardianship to administer the money, and nobody wants to go through that.
Couple things that you can do:
You can specify that anything for them would be given to a custodian under a uniform transfers to minors act. If you do that, it’s an easy way of doing it – probably really good for smaller amounts and you can pick the age when it gets turned over to them as anywhere between 18 and 21. If you want to leave money for a younger person and it’s a larger amount of money, we suggest leaving their share through a trust. The advantage of that is that the money can be managed for their benefit until whatever age or ages you decide that they are old and wise enough to manage their own money. So that might be 18 or 21, it might be part at 21, part at 25, part at 30. Whatever that is, it’s up to you.
That doesn’t mean that they won’t benefit from the money until then. They’ll benefit from that money all along, it’s just the age or ages at which the decisions about how that money gets used, applied, and spent will be turned over from the older, wiser, trustee to the young beneficiary.
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Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.