Guardianship of a Minor Child’s Estate or Single Transaction Conservatorship
In Massachusetts, the Family and Probate Court will appoint an individual, named a single transaction conservator, to handle what many companies refer to as a guardianship of a minor child’s estate. The purpose of this appointment is to obtain funds for the benefit of a minor child.
Often, a grandparent or elder will leave an asset to a child without realizing that the minor will be unable to accept the bequest directly and will need an individual to serve as the conservator for that purpose. A conservator, and in this situation a single transaction conservator, would serve to obtain the financial asset for the benefit of the minor child. A guardianship of a minor child’s estate or single transaction conservator would be required to account to the court for the transaction on behalf of the minor.
Many clients ask why they cannot simply take ownership of the asset on behalf of the child, most often their son or daughter. Legally speaking, the company that controls the asset wants to make certain that the minor will receive full benefit of that asset when they reach majority. As such, they will not likely release the funds until they are reassured that a judicial order has been issued for that purpose and that the company is covered for any liability resulting from that transfer. Most parents or guardians have the best interest of their child in mind, however, there is always the possibility that a parent or guardian will exploit the asset left for the child. By requiring a judicially appointed single transaction conservator or guardianship of a minor child’s estate, the company shields itself against liability for the transfer. The minor would only have recourse against the guardian or conservator for any resulting exploitation of the funds.
If you are in need of assistance with respect to the appointment of a guardian or conservator, please contact Estate Planning Attorney Kristen Bonavita at 978-376-6746. Attorney Bonavita maintains an office in Newburyport, Massachusetts.