Executor Responsibilities Regarding Minor's Inheritance

By Maggie Lourdes

The primary job of an estate executor, also called a personal representative, is to gather a decedent's assets for distribution to heirs. An executor must complete asset distribution to heirs in an honest manner and within a reasonable time. Turning over inheritance assets to minor children, however, raises extra responsibilities and considerations for executors.

The primary job of an estate executor, also called a personal representative, is to gather a decedent's assets for distribution to heirs. An executor must complete asset distribution to heirs in an honest manner and within a reasonable time. Turning over inheritance assets to minor children, however, raises extra responsibilities and considerations for executors.

Minors and Inheritances

Generally, the law does not allow minors to directly receive inheritances. An estate executor has a responsibility to distribute a minor's inheritance to a person or entity called a fiduciary. A fiduciary acts in the child's best financial interests by managing the inheritance. An executor has a responsibility to convey the inheritance to the child's fiduciary as soon as court fees and estate bills paid and proper probate notices are made. An executor must also list all property he has transferred to the fiduciary on an accounting form filed with the probate court.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Conservator

A will that bequeaths an inheritance to a minor usually appoints a conservator to hold the child's assets until he reaches adulthood. A conservator is one type of fiduciary used to manage a child's property. The executor has a responsibility to turn over the child's inheritance to the minor's conservator for safekeeping and investment planning. An executor further has a responsibility to fully cooperate with the conservator in completing the child's inheritance transfers.

Intestate Inheritance

A minor may also inherit assets from a person who fails to leave a will appointing a conservator. An estate that has no governing will is called an intestate estate. If a minor inherits intestate estate property, the executor must request that the probate court appoint a conservator to receive the child's assets. Once a court-appointed conservator is in place, the executor must fulfill his responsibility to turn over the child's inheritance into the custody of the conservator.

Testamentary Trust

Some wills call for the creation of a trust to hold a minor's inheritance. Trusts established after death through wills are referred to as testamentary trusts. An executor who administers a will that includes a testamentary trust for minors must set up the trust and convey the minor's inheritance to the trust's appointed trustee.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Legal Age to Inherit

References

Related articles

What Are the Qualifications for an Executor for an Estate?

Executors play a vital role in ensuring that your property passes according to your wishes after death. It is the job of the executor to collect your property, pay your outstanding debts and distribute your remaining assets through a court-supervised process known as probate. Although states have some basic legal requirements for executors, other qualities, such as financial responsibility and trustworthiness, are often considered most important by will makers when choosing whom to appoint for this important task.

What Is the Responsibility of the Executor of a Will?

Planning ahead includes examining many aspects of your future, such as retirement and investments. Responsible planning also involves considering the division of your assets upon your death. Your will allows you to provide instructions for managing your estate and distributing your belongings. Your will also provides a method of designating your choice of guardian for your minor children or pets.

Can an Executor of a Will Give a Power of Attorney to Someone From Prison?

The executor of an estate possesses only those powers granted to him under a will and by state law. A power of attorney granting a prisoner authority over an estate may be possible depending on the powers granted to the executor. Although an executor has the right to delegate authority to anyone he deems fit, he must do so while keeping the fiduciary duty he owes to the estate in mind.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Guardian Vs. Custodian of a Minor Child in a Will

A guardian and custodian become necessary in the event a child's parents pass away, leaving assets and an inheritance ...

Can a Trustee Be a Guardian?

Although a trustee and a guardian serve very different roles, both are important and involve considerable ...

Can an Under Age Child Inherit a Car Without a Will?

A parent with young children must address numerous estate-planning questions, including naming a guardian to raise the ...

What Is an Appointed Executor of a Will?

A person names an executor, also called a personal representative, in her will. When the person dies, her will must be ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED