In Las Vegas / Clark County
Please Note: Judges in other Nevada Counties may have somewhat different rules.
Occasionally a minor (child under 18 years of age) inherits in a probate proceeding. How is this handled?
In Las Vegas, the Probate Commissioner has been requiring a Guardianship account to be set up for the minor's money if the minor is to inherit $50,000 or more. Guardianship accounts usually involves a lot of legal fees and annual accountings to the Court. (This is a good reason to have a Trust with a Trustee to handle the minor's money so all of the expense of a Guardianship can be avoided.)
The Probate Commissioner will exercise discretion to possibly avoid a Guardianship when the minor inherits under $50,000. The way to avoid the Guardianship is to put the minor's money in a blocked minor's account such that the money can not be withdrawn without a court order, except that when the minor turns 18 the minor, now an adult, can withdraw the money. In addition, if the inheritance is just a few thousand dollars the Probate Commissioner may trust the minor's parents to set up a minor's account under the Uniform Gift to Minors Act without the Court getting involved.
If the minor inherits a share of real estate under a Set-Aside without Administration procedure it may be possible in some cases to award the property to the minor's parent(s), depending on the circumstances of the case.
The Clark County Probate Commissioner will give advisory opinions to attorneys in uncontested probates. So, assuming the probate is uncontested, a discussion with the Commissioner can be a good way to learn how the minor's inheritance can be most economically handled. However, during periods in which the Clark County Probate Commissioner's office is under-staffed, the Commissioner is much less available for this.
Receiving A Large Inheritance Upon Turning 18
Most of my probate clients are not happy to hear that a minor will receive a large inheritance upon turning 18, regardless of whether the new adult is sensible and well behaved or into experimenting with drugs, booze and friends the parents can't stand. The best way to avoid this problem is estate planning involving a trust for the minor.