How old must a child be to get money at a parent's death?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 28, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My friend's mother passed away. How old does he have to be to get the money she left to him?


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

The answer depends on where the money came from, how it was left to him -- and where he lives.

But in most situations, where a child inherits through a trust or will, there is also a provision stating that an adult should manage the money or property for the child's benefit until he or she is no longer a minor -- or turns either 18 or 21 in most states.

There is an exception for property that is considered to be of little value -- that is, worth less than $2,000 or so. Minors are generally allowed to take such property at once.

If your friend was a minor when his mom died, it is likely that there is some adult in the picture -- another parent, a guardian, or a trustee -- who will be charged with managing the money for him at least until he becomes an adult in the eyes of the law.