Passing down benefits and inheritance is a great way to show love and support for the future generations. In some cases, a loved one may have passed away before a child turned a proper adult age and can actually take advantage of the property or money left to them. When this occurs, cases can become very complicated. By hiring the services of a probate lawyer, everything can be set up properly for a minor that is an estate beneficiary. The process can be done right and the child will receive all of the benefits as needed. There are four different ways that a lawyer can help and these situations and understanding the different ways will make it easier for you to help manage the situation.
Temporary Estate Guardian
If a child is under the age of 18, then they typically do not have the maturity or knowledge to handle any large sums of money, property, or other items that may have been passed down. In this case, a probate lawyer can set up a temporary estate guardian for the child. Typically this role is filled in by the parents of the child. The guardian is essentially in control of all the money and assets that were left to the child. It gives them the power to spend the money for the child and access various accounts as needed. A lawyer can help set up details of the guardianship, including what assets and money are protected and must remain untouched until the child reaches adulthood. Measures like these can help prevent abuse in the position and still award the child their proper inheritance.
Property Ownership & Landlords
In some cases, a child may be granted property deeds instead of money accounts. This can make the situation even more complicated as properties come with different financial obligations like taxes. In a case like this a probate lawyer has the ability to assign a special landlord to take care of the property. An allotted amount of money may be given to the landlord to help manage the property and take care of any necessary payments like electric bills, taxes, or landscaping. If the property is a home, in some cases, the child's whole family may move into the home. A probate lawyer can help add the parent's name to a temporary deed that only lasts until the child reaches adulthood. This can help ensure the smooth transfer of property ownership once the child has reached the proper age.
A child may be left accounts that are in different forms than just cash. For example, a will may state that a specific amount is left in a college fund that the child will get once they graduate high school. These plans are typically referred to as a 529 plan and are specific to college savings. Some other accounts like certificates of deposits may have to be opened and deposited into until the child turns 18. These types of accounts can become complicated. A probate lawyer can help set up the accounts, distribute the proper funds, and make sure that everything is released when it is supposed to be.
Release Amounts and Significant Dates
Sometimes a final will may be specific about how the funds are released for a child and what they are used for. For example, a will may state that $20,000 is released to a child so that they can purchase a vehicle on their 16th birthday. Using the services of a probate lawyer can help set up these schedules and open official accounts where the money is disbursed to. If everything is completed properly, the process can move along smoothly and automatically without any additional problems.
Contact a lawyer at a firm like Bayer Jerger & Underwood for more information on estate planning and how different scenarios will impact a child receiving benefits.