Common Estate Planning Mistake #10: Failing to plan properly for minor beneficiaries

Wills and Living Trusts offer a peace of mind that when we pass away our estate is distributed as we wish. Very commonly, we leave our estate to our children, and then to our grandchildren if they die before we do. However, what isn’t always addressed is what happens if we pass away while our children or grandchildren are too young to legally handle money directly?

In this Estate Planning Minute, Wes Coulson, Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses another common estate planning mistake and the possible problems and expenses involved when failing to plan properly for minor beneficiaries.

Common Estate Planning Mistake #10: Failing to plan properly for minor beneficiaries


Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Estate Planning Minute. This is another in our series on Common Estate Planning Mistakes, which is turning to become a pretty long series because, as it turns out, there a lot of pretty common estate planning mistakes.

The one I want to talk about this time is failing to properly provide for minor beneficiaries. I’ve seen an awful lot of wills or trusts that say I leave things to my children, and if they die before me then it goes down the family tree to their children. Unfortunately, too often it stops there. It doesn’t address,

“Well, how is it play out if my grandkids get the money and they’re still too young to manage it?”

Unfortunately, if you haven’t directed it, what’s going to happen, because minors can’t handle money legally directly, is that there are going to have to be court guardianships at great expense to handle that money, and then it’s going to be turned over lock stock and barrel at age 18.

If you do it right in your estate plan, you avoid that by putting somebody in charge of the money and it doesn’t necessarily need to end and age 18. It can end at the age that you think it’s appropriate to have somebody else responsible to manage that money. Again, something to think about. Thanks.

For more about Power of Attorney for Property documents, visit these articles:

Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (877)995-6876 or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.