If the value of the assets that are left to a minor under the age of 18 exceeds $15,000.00, a Court-administered Guardianship will be required for the minor child. This may happen inadvertently by designating a child as a contingent beneficiary on a life insurance policy or passing away without a Will.
Not only do Guardianships involve additional costs, attorneys’ fees, and annual accountings to be filed with the probate court, they also typically significantly limit the access to the funds for paying living expenses of the minor. And, what is perhaps the worst feature of minor guardianships is that the law mandates that the funds and assets be turned over to the minor upon his or her 18th birthday, regardless of whether the child is emotionally mature to handle and manage the assets. Often, 18-year olds are not mature enough to take on these responsibilities.
If you don’t have a Will or a Trust, the Florida Legislature has an estate plan for you—it’s just probably not the one that you would choose for yourself.