Understanding How a Trust for a Minor Works

In most cases, a trust for minors is set up as a way of preserving assets and distributing property to children without giving them access to their inheritance in the present moment. Minor trusts typically come with instructions that denote when the money, property or other assets may be released to the care of the person to whom the trust belongs. Trusts for minors are an excellent way to ensure the financial future and long-term security of your children after your death.

Trusts for minors can be established to serve many purposes:

  • Preemptively plan for the distribution of finances.
  • Set up a timeline as to when the beneficiaries will receive the funds.
  • Define how the funds should be allocated.
  • Address the preferred plan of action should the minor pass away.

When setting up a trust for a minor, you have a couple of options available to you. Whether you choose a Will or a Living Trust is up to you. Either way, you can leave your property behind in your child’s name, though you will need to address the age of the minor via a provision. If the child is a minor when you pass away, the property that is included as part of the minor’s trust will be designated to a trustee who will then care for it on behalf of the child.

While setting up trusts for minors, you are given the option to select the end date for the trust, meaning the age restriction can be set to the age that you deem appropriate. For instance, some people think about maturity and want to set the age of a minor’s trust to a point in their life when they will be more mature. If that’s the case, it may help to hear that children are of utmost maturity by the time they reach their early to mid-30s. Some may choose to leave assets in trust long-term as a form of asset protection.

A major benefit of a minor trust is that you can set it up in advance to provide compensation to your child in increments as opposed to the trust account being disbursed as a lump sum. This can be implemented as a protective measure to ensure that all of the money is not spent immediately.

For example, you could allow some of the money to be distributed when your child turns 25, with an additional portion being disbursed when they turn 30 and the remaining funds granted at the age of 35. Minor trusts can be particularly useful in situations where a child lives with a disability and may require expensive medical treatment in the years to come. Rehabilitation as well as specialized and personalized diets may be necessary throughout their lives.

The process of setting up a trust fund for a minor beneficiary can be a step in the direction of ensuring that the inheritance funds that you leave behind for your children are used for reasons that are in your child’s best interest. This is made possible by the option to implement restrictions pertaining to how your child uses the money and assets they receive in the form of inheritance.

Long-term guidance and assurance

By setting up a trust, you can ensure that the money you set aside will be put toward the benefit of your children. Doing so will provide you with a way to guide the decisions of your children and impact their spending habits in terms of their inheritance even after you have passed.

With a trust for minors, you can set guidelines regarding how the money you leave behind for your children should be spent and what the funds can be put toward. For example, you might state that the funds within the trust account can only be used for housing, education and health-related expenses.

You can also decide what happens with any remaining trust funds. For instance, you can take the time to explicitly spell out the name of a secondary beneficiary, such as a grandchild. In the same token, you can also identify people who under no circumstances may be granted access to the funds.

Alternatively, you can leave all the decisions up to the trustee and his or her discretion. This is a way of giving more control to the beneficiary by granting them additional powers and rights regarding how the trust works, such as allowing your child to choose who the secondary trust beneficiary is. You can even allow the child to become a co-trustee by saying so in your trust document.

In addition to the numerous benefits that trusts for minors offer, there are also many significant long-term implications of opening a trust for your child. Before opening a trust in your minor-aged child’s name, make sure you conduct thorough research and learn all that there is to know about minor trusts so that your ultimate decision is made with a fully informed mind.

Do you have questions?

Count on your experienced team at Ericson, Scalise & Mangan, PC to provide you with sound guidance for your Estate Planning, Elder Law, Real Estate, Probate, Trust & Estate Administration, and other legal needs. For assistance, contact us today at (860) 229-0369, or email us at info@esmlaw.com.

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