Every day I get calls with questions, and the answers I give may be helpful for many clients. So here is one question or variation that surfaces often.
“My dad had stock investments, and in his Will he said those accounts should be split among my brother (2/6), me (1/6) and my three kids (1/6 each). I understand from my financial adviser in Georgia (my Dad died in New York) that in order to move the investments from the current account to an account for my kids, which I can control I have to become their financial guardian in the State of Georgia. I’m their dad how can this be right?”
In Georgia a gift to a minor that doesn’t pass through a trust (for example life insurance proceeds and stock accounts) must be overseen by the Probate Court. This requires a parent or interested party to become the financial guardian under the control of the Probate Court, post a bond, and report spending and earnings to the Probate Court on a regular basis. This creates extra cost and hassle for the parties involved. Many times this diminishes much of the intended gift. Once the child turns 18 the money must be turned over to him. This however, can create a whole new set of issues.
When drafting your estate plan. It isn’t just the Will and Health care Directives that are important. It is important that you know exactly how to name beneficiaries on your accounts as well.