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The legal process for minor beneficiaries

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2023 | Estate Planning |

A minor in California has to wait until reaching 18 years old to inherit and manage assets. The court requires a child to reach the age of maturity first. A young beneficiary, along with the parent or guardian, has certain legal procedures to follow when receiving an inheritance.

As the minor

Parents and relatives often select their children and grandchildren as beneficiaries as part of their estate plan. While California law restricts a minor’s inheritance and ownership of assets, the minor is allowed to inherit assets through a guardian.

A minor can be named as a beneficiary in a will or trust but cannot own assets until reaching the age of maturity. In addition, a minor who is a beneficiary in a life insurance policy cannot receive a payout directly. If a payout is provided, a court-appointed official has to review the funds before agreeing to the decision.

As the conservator

A court-appointed conservator is assigned to manage the child’s finances before the age of 18. A parent is named as the conservator in most cases. Otherwise, the parent or another interested adult can file a petition and request the court to select a conservator. The process includes a hearing where evidence is presented and testimonies are made so that the right adult is selected.

A child beneficiary is not automatically entitled to receive any assets. A minor in California is allowed to inherit and own assets after reaching the age of 18. A child is not considered to be mature enough to manage a large sum of money until he or she reaches an adult age. A parent can establish a will or trust that is valid but enforced only at a specific age. Overall, minors are required to undergo the legal process that is designed to protect their finances.