Creating a will allows a parent to not only name a guardian for minor children, but provide for them financially as well. Here is a brief summary of the legalities of leaving money to minors, since minors cannot legally own property. If your will leaves money or other property to a minor, you should also arrange for someone to manage their inheritance, should they receive it while they’re still too young to manage it themselves. This can also be handled within a will.
If you do not address your beneficiary’s status as a minor, anything left to them could potentially result in a court-appointed guardianship or in a restricted bank account as dictated by a Probate judge under Ohio state law.
Specifically, Ohio has adopted the Ohio Transfer to Minors Act (OTMA) which authorizes you to name in your will an adult custodian and successor custodian to supervise property you leave to minors. The custodianship ends, and any remaining property must be turned over to the child outright, when the child reaches the age of 21, which is specified by Ohio’s OTMA law.
On the other hand, addressing the issue while planning your estate allows you to better control the inheritance and supervision of the property. For example, establishing a trust to manage property until the child reaches a certain age. An alternative is to name a guardian of the estate for your children within a will, which allows you to choose someone to handle the property on their behalf. While this person may also be the ‘guardian of the person’, the caretaker of the children you name within the will, it can also be another person or even an institution for larger estates.
Planning for these situations allows you to maintain control of issues that may come up upon your passing. Estate planning allows you to address these issues and relieve the burden of your death on your loved ones.
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