If you are going to leave money or property to someone who may be under the age of 18 at the time of inheriting, you must understand how Vermont inheritance laws address gifts made to minor children. If you do not understand the default law and take appropriate action, your gift to a person who is underage could create many legal complications.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can explain Vermont inheritance laws to you and can help you to ensure that you make smart choices when leaving money or property to children.
In fact, our legal team will assist you in making informed choices about all of the gifts that you plan to leave behind to any heirs or beneficiaries so you can ensure that the gifts you give are always a blessing and never a burden. Give us a call today to find out more.
Vermont Inheritance Laws in Leaving Minor to Minor Children
Under the laws of Vermont, a child under the age of 18 cannot just inherit money or property directly and be put in charge of managing that money or property. Instead, an adult has to manage a child’s inheritance for that child.
If you do not make plans for who will act as guardian for a child’s inheritance, the court is going to make a decision for you. The court can appoint a property guardian who is in charge of managing an inheritance for a child. This is what will happen if you do not take steps to ensure that you have appropriately structured an inheritance left to a child.
When the court appoints a guardian, that property guardian might be someone different from the person you would have preferred to manage the child’s money. The guardian is also going to have to make financial reports to the court and keep a careful accounting of how money and property is managed for the child. Many people do not like this intrusion into personal family life.
If you haven’t made advanced plans to specify otherwise, the child is also going to receive the inheritance without any strings or conditions once the child reaches 18. You may not be happy about the fact that a very young person will receive a large inheritance without any conditions placed upon it- but this is what will happen unless you have made other plans.
Making Smart Choices When Leaving Money to Minors
You do not have to just accept the default process for a child’s inheritance under Vermont inheritance laws for minor children. There are legal tools you can use to take more control.
One option you have is to leave money for a child under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act which was adopted by the Vermont legislature in 2015.
When you leave money to a child under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, you can just use simple language in your will in order to specify that you are leaving money to a chosen custodian (the person who will manage the money) on behalf of the child until the child reaches a designated age. Under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, you can actually put the custodian of the funds in charge of the money until the child reaches the age of 21, rather than the child just inheriting at 18. This means a young person won’t just get a big inheritance when he or she is still too young to be responsible with the money.
The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act streamlines the process of naming the person to manage money for a child. You need to talk with a Vermont inheritance planning lawyer to make sure you use the right language and follow state law guidelines for using this Act.
You can also take even more control over an inheritance for a minor by creating a trust. Trusts allow you to do things like specify that the money should be used only for a child’s college education, or to set milestones the child must meet before inheriting. Trusts can be the most complicated way to leave money to someone underage, but also give you the most control over an inheritance.
Getting Help from A Vermont Inheritance Planning Attorney
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide assistance in understanding how Vermont inheritance laws apply to leaving money to minor children. To find out more about the ways in which you can leave money to young loved ones, download our free estate planning worksheet. You can also give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team who can offer compassionate and knowledgeable representation as you make your plans for the future. Call now to get started.
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