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Leaving an Inheritance to a Minor Child

While no one wants to think about the possibility of a family disaster occurring, it is always recommended to prepare for childcare and leaving an inheritance in case of an emergency. Here, the Maryland family law attorneys at Rodier Family Law discuss why you should consider leaving an inheritance to your children and how to arrange the management of the inheritance until your children are of age.

Organize Property Management In Case of An Emergency

While many married couples leave their inheritances to each other, couples should consider leaving property to their children as well in case something were to happen to one or both spouses. If you fail to arrange property management for your children, the responsibility is then left to the probate court, who may appoint a property guardian to your children. While probate courts usually appoint the other parent as the property guardian, this is not a guarantee, and it is always best to create a specific plan for passing your property down to your children in order to avoid a worst-case scenario.

Choose an Option for Property Management

To avoid a court-appointed guardianship, choose a trusted family member or close friend who can be sure to manage the inheritance wisely until your children are old enough to accept it. You can do this by choosing from a variety of property management options. For instance, you can name a property guardian in your will, which will inform the court of who you would prefer to manage the inheritance in case of an emergency. 

You can also name a custodian under the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA). Under UTMA, you can choose an individual to manage the property you are leaving to your children, and that person subsequently becomes the custodian. If you were to die when your child is still under the age of 21, it would then be the custodian’s responsibility to manage the property until the child is of age. If the amount left to a child is significant, which may include any amount of money exceeding $10,000, you may need court approval, however, the child will not receive their inheritance, no matter the amount, until they are of age.

Other options for leaving an inheritance to your children include setting up trusts or pot trusts, processes which include naming a trustee to oversee your property until your children reach the age in which you specify in the trust. While a trust can be set up for each individual child, a pot trust allows for one large trust to be left to multiple children, allowing for flexibility. However, one significant issue concerning pot trusts is that the oldest children cannot receive their shares of the inheritance until the youngest child turns 18.

Discuss Your Options with a Family Law Attorney at Rodier Family Law

We all want our children to be supported and set up for success, and that includes ensuring they properly receive an inheritance you intend to leave them. For questions pertaining to property management options that are right for you as well as picking a suitable property guardian, contact Rodier Family Law today.