New York inheritance law determines what happens when money is left to heirs or beneficiaries. If an adult inherits money or property in a will, that adult will typically simply receive the money or property after the probate process has been complete. When money is left to a child under the age of 18, however, things become more complicated. The child cannot simply inherit money when he or she is underaged, so you need to consider what New York inheritance law requires for the child’s inheritance.
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can provide invaluable assistance to clients who are making an estate plan and who want to know how inheritance laws will affect the money and property left behind. If you do not want the default inheritance laws to determine what should happen to your money and property, our Long Island inheritance planning lawyers can also provide you with assistance using estate planning tools that allow you more control over what will happen to your assets. Give us a call to find out more.
New York Inheritance Law For Young Children
New York inheritance law prohibits a child under the age of 18 from directly inheriting and taking control over money and property. If a child is not an adult when money is left to him or her in a last will and testament or when money would transfer to him through intestacy law, then the child cannot legally assume ownership. If no plans have been made to make certain that the money and property is appropriately managed on behalf of the child, the court will appoint a guardian for the funds.
The guardian will manage the money until the child becomes a legal adult at the age of 18. The guardian will be required to manage the money in the child’s best interests and will have a fiduciary duty towards the child, which is the highest legal duty that one person can owe to another person. The guardian of the funds may be required to keep an accounting of how assets are spent and to provide regular updates to the court.
The fact that the court selects a guardian, and remains involved in overseeing the funds, is considered a downside by many who may prefer a different approach to the management of funds they leave for a child.
When the child who inherited reaches the age of 18, the child’s inheritance will transfer to him. This can pose problems, especially if an inheritance is a substantial one, because an 18 year old may not actually be able to effectively manage a large sum of money in a smart and responsible way.
If you are making an estate plan and planning on leaving money to anyone who is under the age of 18, you need to be aware of how this default New York inheritance law will apply to how the inheritance is treated. You should talk with a Long Island inheritance planning lawyer to explore other options.
Making Plans to Provide an Inheritance for Children
One option you have for leaving money to a child is to use the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UMTA). The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act creates a simple and streamlined way to leave money to a child while putting a custodian in charge of the actual management of the assets. You also have the option of putting the custodian in charge of the money and property until the inheriting child reaches the age of 21, so you can avoid having a big inheritance go to someone who is just 18.
There are also other options which are more complicated but which give you even more control, such as creating a trust. It is up to you the extent to which you want to go to determine who will manage money you leave for a child and how that money will be spent.
Getting Help from A Long Island Inheritance Planning Lawyer Today
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can provide assistance in understanding New York inheritance law and can help you in special situations, such as when you want to leave money to a child or to a loved one with a disability.
Download our estate planning checklist to find out more about how you can make legal tools work for you as you leave an inheritance for a minor. You can also give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online to get personalized advice about making sure an inheritance you leave behind is managed appropriately and serves your intended purposes.