How to Split Up Money From a Will Amongst the Grandchildren

By Dennis Masino

Grandparents who spent a lifetime working to accumulate assets reach a point when they must make a decision about how their assets, including money, get distributed upon their death. If they set this down in a will, the responsibility of following the instructions left falls upon the executor, designated in the will by the maker and appointed by the court upon the maker's death. The executor must be careful to disburse the money left to the grandchildren in accordance with the stated wishes of the deceased and any applicable laws.

Step 1

Pay all valid estate debts, taxes and funeral expenses. The state in which the deceased lived at the time of his death will have a set time period during which creditors can make valid claims against the estate. An executor who distributes money to heirs before all valid estate debts, taxes and funeral expenses have been paid can be held personally liable if there is not enough money left to pay the estate's expenses.

Step 2

Read the will to determine what is to be paid to each grandchild. If the language in the will names each of the grandchildren, with a specific amount designated for each, the executor simply follows the instructions when making the payments. If the will designates a percentage of the estate or a lump sum to be divided amongst the grandchildren, the executor must determine how many grandchildren qualify to share in the estate and divide the total amount by that number.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Step 3

Read the will to determine if it creates a trust for any grandchild's share of the estate until the grandchild reaches a stated age. If it does, the executor must write a check for that grandchild's share of the estate to the trustee named in the will to be overseer of the trust.

Step 4

Pay each grandchild, according to the terms of the will, who has reached the age of majority under state law where the will is probated. The executor pays the grandchildren the amount they are owed by writing a check from the estate checking account to each grandchild entitled to receive payment.

Step 5

Make payments to grandchildren who are minors by paying the grandchild's parents on behalf of the grandchild. If there is no trust created in the will, bequests to a minor grandchild can only be made to a court appointed guardian of the property of the child. Some states permit payment to the parents on behalf of their minor child, provided the payment does not exceed the amount set by the law of the state in which the will has been probated.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
What Is Meant by Share and Share-Alike in a Will?
 

References

Related articles

Who Is Legally the Next of Kin?

Next of kin is a legal term that comes up when someone has died without a will. If an individual dies without leaving a valid will, her estate passes to the relatives described as next of kin in the state's intestacy laws. Most states consider the deceased's surviving spouse and children next of kin for inheritance purposes.

My Mother Died & Has No Will; What Do I Do Next?

As heartbreaking as it can be to lose a loved one, the tragedy is often compounded when you discover there isn't a will. When your mother dies without leaving written instructions on how to dispose of her estate, the state steps in. Your first move is to determine how to work with the state in handling your mother's final affairs.

What If a Will Is Written Before a Grandchild Is Born?

A well-written will may cover most scenarios involving inheritance by including language or definitions to that effect. The terms “issue” or “lineal descendants” are often used to make it possible for children of subsequent generations to inherit from the grandparent. A grandparent whose will names grandchildren as beneficiaries should consider adding a similar provision referring to future grandchildren. Sometimes, however, a will does not specifically reference unknown or future generations. In such cases, state law or other will provisions determine the disposition of property.

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

Related articles

How to Write a Will for Property

Modern courts make no distinction between the terms "will" and "testament." Both describe a document indicating who is ...

How Is Property Divided Equally With a Will in Place?

Often, it is not possible to divide an entire life's worth of property equally between two or more people, but you can ...

The Inheritance Statute in Washington, DC

Washington, D.C. has enacted the Uniform Probate Code, a law drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on ...

Education for Grandchildren in a Testamentary Trust

When grandparents begin the estate planning process, they may first think of leaving money to their grandchild in a ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED