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Beneficiary Qualifications

What does it take to qualify as a beneficiary? If you have been named as a beneficiary in a trust or will in California, and you’re supposed to receive a gift out of that trust or will, it really doesn’t take much to qualify to be a beneficiary. Once you are named as a beneficiary, you will receive your money – unless you are under age 18, or you have a disability that makes it impossible for you to manage your own financial affairs.

Beneficiaries Who are Minors

If you’re a minor, under age 18, you can’t own assets directly.  You have to wait until you’re an adult. In that case, either the trust will specify that your trust’s share is held for you until you become an adult. Most trusts say that. If that is not the case, then you would have to get a guardian appointed and the assets can be distributed to your guardian. The trustee has the option of using something like a transfer, a Uniform Transfer to Minors Account. The Uniform Transfer to Minors Account is a basic bank account.  You can set it up at any bank. Once the money is there, it will stay there until the minor reaches age 18. Those are some ways in which to get assets out to a minor who cannot own assets directly.

Disabled Beneficiaries

The same, generally, is true for a disabled person if a disabled person is under a conservatorship, then the assets can pass to the conservatorship, rather than passing to the disabled person directly. That would require somebody to have a conservatorship in place.

If somebody is supposed to get trust assets and they can’t manage their own financial affairs, then you’d really need to go to court and have a conservatorship set up for that beneficiary so that their assets can pass out to their conservator.