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Q&A: CAN YOU LEAVE YOUR 401(k) to YOUR MINOR CHILD?


QUESTION:

Can I leave my 401(k) to my minor children when I die?

-Pondering Parent


ANSWER:


Dear Pondering:


Though you are technically allowed to name a minor child as beneficiary of your 401(k), IRA, or other employment-sponsored retirement account, it’s never a good idea. Minor children cannot inherit the account until they reach the age of majority—which can be as old as 21 in some states. If a minor is listed as the beneficiary, upon your death your retirement account would be distributed to a court-appointed custodian, who will be in charge of managing the funds (often for a fee) until the age of majority. If you want your child to inherit your retirement account, you should set up a trust to receive those assets instead. You can then name a trustee to manage the account until your child comes of age. By doing so, you get to choose not only who would manage your child’s money, but within the trust’s terms, you can stipulate how and when the account’s funds should be distributed and used, which can help them from being lost or squandered.


As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can help you create a trust to hold your 401(k) for your minor children to ensure your heirs get the maximum benefit from your retirement savings.


This article is a service of The Law Offices of Chris Pryor. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family’s Future Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family’s Future Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.

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