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Inheritance for my minor child

State College, PA |

My 4-year-old son will soon inherit $75,000 from his deceased uncle's estate. Am I required to, or should I legally protect his inheritance, so that it is there for him when he reaches adulthood - and if so, is there any recommended vehicle for me to do so?

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

What you should, or need to do initially depends on the terms of his uncle's will. In many cases, a will appoints someone to hold the money in trust for a minor child. That person would then have the responsibility to invest it wisely, and account for it later on.

If there is nothing in the will, you, or some other person would need to be appointed as guardian for your son, in order to have the authority to handle the money.

I would recommend that you consult with the attorney handling the estate, your own attorney, or both before proceeding.

This is not intended to provide legal advice about your situation - just a few casual remarks about a legal question. We are a debt relief agency helping people file for bankruptcy.


You may want to check with a financial advisor about opening a UTMA (Uniform Transfer to Minors Act) account or an UGMA (Uniform Gift to Minors Act) account. A "529" plan may also be available.


If your son's uncle's will is silent as to how to handle the inheritance, I would recommend that you contact an elder law attorney in your area. An elder law attorney can aid you in being named guardian regarding this inheritance for your child.

Legal disclaimer: Please note: Robert Cronin is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania. Nothing in this article is to be taken as legal advice. No communication between Robert Cronin and readers of this article is to be inferred to cause an attorney client relationship. If you require legal assistance please contact an attorney who is licensed in your jurisdiction and knowledgeable in the area of law in which you require help.


You are required to protect his inheritance if you receive the funds as his parent / legal guardian. If you do, I would recommend placing the funds into an account which enables you to control the distribution of the funds for the longest period possible (probably up to your son's 21st birthday). An Uniform Gift to Minor's Account may only allow you to retain it until his 18th birthday so you may wish to look at alternatives. With any luck, the deceased uncle will have trust language in his will that is flexible enough to allow the Trustee to control the funds until your son needs them for school or he is as least wise enough to manage them appropriately.

Seamus M. Lavin, Esquire
Ryan, Morton & Imms, LLC
(610) 430-1504