Guardianship Of A Minor

A Guardian may be needed for a minor when a minor stands to inherit or receive property from an estate, insurance settlement or judgment in excess of $15,000. A Guardianship for a minor may also be required when a minor's natural parents are unwilling, or unable, to care for them.

What Does A Guardian Do?

If a Guardianship is required, any money received will be held in the Guardianship for the minor until the minor reaches age 18. Any use of the Guardianship funds will require authorization from the court. Typically, the court will authorize the distribution of funds for the care and upbringing of the minor, including medical care. Nevertheless, if the parents of the minor have their own assets, the court may require that the parents continue to support the minor, instead of using Guardianship funds.

In the case of inheritances for minors, proper estate planning may be able to avoid the expense and complexity of a Guardianship.

The Benefits Of A Trust

The person leaving the inheritance to the minor could leave the inheritance in a trust for the benefit of the minor, which will avoid the need for the Guardianship altogether. Not only is the oversight of the court avoided, but a trust allows for more control over the inheritance. For example, instead of releasing the inheritance to the minor at age 18, the funds could be held in trust until the minor becomes more mature, whether that be age 21, 25 or beyond.

Florida law also allows for certain accounts to be set up for minors. The inheritance can be designated so that it is transferred to a Uniform Transfer to Minors Act account, avoiding the expense of a Guardianship and the expense and complexity of having the money held in a trust. The primary disadvantage is that the money must be paid to the minor upon reaching the age of 18.

Learn More About Your Options

To discuss Guardianships for minors in Florida, as well as alternatives to a Guardianship for a minor, please contact the Guardianship lawyers of Langley, Nagel, Crawford & Modica at 352-432-1435 to set up an initial consultation.