If a married couple is creating its estate plan, then how does the couple leave the estate to non-adult grandchildren? What if something were to happen to them before the grandchildren become adults? Can this couple make sure the minor grandchildren do not get control of any inheritance until they’re adults? There are options to give assets to minor grandchildren.
Nj.com’s recent article entitled “How can I leave my money to my minor grandchildren when I die?” says that one way to solve these issues is to create a testamentary trust to provide for young beneficiaries whether they’re children, grandchildren, step-children, or unrelated beneficiaries. The terms of a testamentary trust are in your will. It is only established and funded after you pass away.
The terms of the trust generally provide instructions to the trustee about the ages at which distributions must be made, if any. These instructions also allow the trustee to make discretionary distributions of income and principal to the beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries do not need to be identified by name or need to be born at the time the will is written. However, they must be able to be identified upon your death. As a result, you can provide a bequest to all of your grandchildren, whether or not they are born yet.
It doesn’t matter where your grandchildren live as far as estate planning is concerned. However, if they live outside the United States and the bequest is considerable, the laws of their home country should be addressed. This is because a big gift may cause adverse tax implications to the recipient.
For children, some states’ laws allow you to add a term in your will that penalizes any interested person — like an heir or beneficiary — for contesting the will.
However, if there’s probable cause initiating a proceeding concerning the estate, then the clause will not be enforced.
When a person names another as primary beneficiary, they should also name one or more contingent beneficiaries, so that if the first person predeceases him or her, they will not have to revise the will.
If you do not designate a contingent beneficiary, and an heir predeceases, the assets pass according to the state’s intestacy statute rather than according to the will. You have options to ensure assets you give to minor grandchildren are honored after you pass. An experienced estate planning attorney will help you draft a testamentary trust that is right for you. If you would like to learn more about testamentary trusts, please visit our previous posts.
Reference: nj.com (Dec. 9, 2021) “How can I leave my money to my minor grandchildren when I die?”