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Blog Articles: Providing for Minor Grandchildren in a Will

The Importance of Beneficiary Designations
You have many options to make sure your wishes are followed after you die.

If a married couple is creating their estate plan, how does the couple leave the estate to non-adult grandchildren? Beck & Lenox Estate Planning & Elder Law, LLC, works with grandparents who want to make sure the grandchildren get their own inheritance. Providing for minor grandchildren in a will is an important part of our law practice.

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?

Can arrangements be made for any unborn grandchildren to be included?

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. 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. Those assets could end up with people you would not have chosen to inherit from you.

If providing for minor grandchildren in a will is important to you, you need to consult with an estate planning attorney like the ones at Beck & Lenox.  Don’t lose control of your legacy with inadequate planning.

Reference: nj.com (Dec. 9, 2021) “How can I leave my money to my minor grandchildren when I die?”

 

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