Guardianship of a Minor
Guardianships do not only pertain to people suffering from Alzheimer’s or have special needs, in the eyes of the law a person under 18 years of age is also considered incapacitated. A minor who is under 18 does not have the capacity to manage their own finances. In Florida, if a minor receives a sum of money from an inheritance, a settlement, a lawsuit, etc. that money needs to be deposited into a court restricted account and the minor’s funds remain in a guardianship until they reach the age of 18. If the amount being given to the minor is less than $15,000.00 and the funds would be managed by the natural parents of the child then a guardianship proceeding may be avoided.
Guardianship of a Minor –
While the child is under 18, the guardian may request that the attorney petition the court to use those funds for the maintenance, education, health and support of the child. Generally, judges are not inclined to grant petitions to use the child’s money for obligations the parents should be fulfilling from their own money. The attorney for the guardian also is entitled to be paid fees from those guardianship funds. Judges make their best efforts to protect those funds and ensure guardians are being fiscally responsible with the minor’s funds.
Another estate planning issue arises once the minor turns 18. Although the law considers someone over 18 an adult, not all people mature the same or have a sufficient understanding of finances. An 18 year old might think a Ferrari is a better investment than a college pre-paid plan or life insurance policy. It is important to discuss options with an estate planning attorney to protect those assets and allow them to continue to grow.