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Ways to Ensure Your Minor Children Can Inherit Without Costly Guardianship Proceedings

San Francisco Trusts Lawyers

While it's not a pleasant subject, sometimes parents pass away while their children are still under the age of 18. What happens then? By law, children under the age of 18 who receive anything more than modest amounts of money from their deceased parents' estate cannot manage the property on their own. Instead, the law provides for court-appointed guardianship proceedings in order to manage and supervise the child's estate. On the one hand, court supervision is better than allowing the money to just disappear in the hands of unscrupulous friends or relatives. On the other hand, the practical disadvantages of guardianship proceedings are numerous:

  • The guardianship terminates when the minor reaches age 18, leaving assets in the hands of a child who is most likely to be financially immature. The majority of parents would rather postpone giving full control over their property until a later date.
  • The requirements of court supervision and formal accountings add expense and inconvenience. In addition, because the appointed guardian will likely need the advice and representation of a San Francisco trust attorney at court, these costs will be borne by the child's estate and reduce the total amount of the gift.
  • Court oversight, and laws requiring court approval for sales of certain types of assets, diminish the likelihood that the child's property will be managed effectively.


At the same time, minors' trusts involve making irrevocable transfers of assets during one's lifetime. Once transferred, these assets cannot be taken back. Also, unless no other assets pass to children upon a parent's death, minors' trusts should be coordinated with other estate planning documents. Furthermore, some of the drafting and tax rules associated with minors trusts are quite complex, requiring the assistance of an attorney at the very least during the drafting and set up of the trust.

If you are seeking a San Francisco trusts lawyer contact the law offices of Michael B. Bassi.

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