Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: What do natural parents need to provide to a financial services company to prove guardianship of their own children?

Question:

What do natural parents need to provide to a financial services company (for a tax deferred annuity) to prove guardianship of their own children?  My mother recently died and had several annuities that named my minor children as beneficiaries.  The company is dragging its feet about paying out the benefits. What do I do?

Answer:

This is actually not as uncommon as you might think.  In fact, delays are often common. My advice is to write to the company and make it clear that you are the natural mother of the children and you are making a claim.  You should include any documentation you can provide (e.g., birth certificates and/or a filed tax return showing that you have claimed them as dependents) that would prove the children to be your dependents. When minors receive money, the funds are generally held in a uniform transfers to minors account (UTMA) which is managed by the guardian.  Since you are the guardian, you would set up these UTMA accounts. Comment:  Even with this type of documentation, I’ve seen this type of documentation rejected.   If the documentation is rejected, the next step might be a strongly worded letter from an attorney, but hopefully this won’t be necessary. Estate PlanningAs always, if you have questions or would like to know more please contact Steven E. Shane, at sshane@offitkurman.com or 301.575.0313. Steve provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn.