As a parent or guardian, you may have a bank account you wish to pass to your child as a beneficiary. But can a minor be a beneficiary on a bank account?
Legally, you can name a minor as a bank account beneficiary, but the minor cannot access the funds until reaching legal age, so you may need to appoint a trustee to manage the money until the child reaches the appropriate age.
What is a beneficiary on a bank account, and why is it important?
A beneficiary on a bank account is someone who is named by the account holder to receive funds and other assets in the account upon the account holder’s death. This designation is made through the bank and is legally binding. If the account holder doesn’t name a legal beneficiary, the assets may go through a probate process where a court will decide who gets your inheritance if you don’t have a will.
The beneficiary designation overrides any estate planning documents like a will. As long as the account holder designates a beneficiary, that person will receive the funds in the account regardless of what the will says.
Who can be a beneficiary?
A bank account beneficiary can be anyone the account holder chooses, including family members, friends, or charitable organizations. For example, a parent may choose to name their child as a beneficiary, while someone without close family may opt to name a close friend or charity.
Age requirements for beneficiaries
Anyone, including a minor, is eligible to be a bank account beneficiary.
How many beneficiaries can you have?
There are no limits to the number of beneficiaries a person can name — you can name multiple beneficiaries for a single account. If there is more than one beneficiary, the account holder can specify the percentage of the account that each beneficiary will receive.
In addition to the primary beneficiaries, the account holder may also name contingent or secondary beneficiaries. These individuals would receive the assets in the account if the primary beneficiaries are unable to do so.
Things to consider before naming a minor as a beneficiary on a bank account
Naming minors as beneficiaries is a decision that should be approached with care and consideration. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:
Appoint an account trustee
Any funds received by the child as a beneficiary would require management by an adult. The account trustee is responsible for managing the funds on behalf of the minor until they reach the age of majority, at which point the funds will be transferred to them. The trustee also ensures that the assets you leave to a minor are managed responsibly and in accordance with your wishes.
Set up a trust
A trust fund is a legal arrangement in which a trustee holds and manages assets on behalf of a beneficiary. Setting up a trust fund will ensure that the funds are managed and distributed in a way that aligns with your wishes. You can specify whether the beneficiary should receive the funds in a lump sum or whether there should be a payment schedule over a period of time.
Understand the tax implications
Bank accounts do not offer many tax benefits that educational and retirement accounts do. The interest earned on bank accounts is generally to income tax. If the account earns more than a certain amount, the minor may have to file an income tax return and pay taxes on the interest earned.
Come to an understanding of the minor’s financial future
When naming a minor as a beneficiary of your bank account, the goal is typically to secure the child’s financial future. You can give a trustee guidance by creating a plan that outlines how the funds should be used over time. This plan can include details such as how much money should be allocated toward education, healthcare, or other specific needs of the child.
Choose A Trustee To Manage Funds For Minors
Naming a minor as a bank account beneficiary shows that you care about their well-being even after they’re gone. Bear in mind that the minor will not have access to the funds until they reach legal age. The trustee or guardian you appoint to manage the funds should prioritize the minor’s interests above everything else. You may also seek professional guidance from a legal or financial adviser to ensure the process is properly executed.
Can I add my child as a beneficiary on my bank account?
You can add your child as a beneficiary on your bank account. However, the minor cannot access funds in the account until they reach the appropriate age. You will need to appoint a trustee who will temporarily manage the account on the minor’s behalf.
How old do you have to be to be a beneficiary on a bank account?
There is no specific age requirement to be a beneficiary on a bank account. Even minors can be named as beneficiaries.
Is it smart to add a minor as a beneficiary on a bank account?
Adding a minor as a beneficiary on a bank account is a smart idea. The goal is to make sure that your loved one has access to funds when you are not around.