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A minors’ trust in a will, often referred to as a “minor’s trust” or “trust for minors,” is a legal arrangement created within a person’s last will and testament to provide for the financial well-being and care of minor children. The primary purpose of such a trust is to ensure that assets or property left to minors are managed and distributed in their best interests until they reach an age specified in the trust document, as determined by the person creating the will (the testator).


Here are some key features of minors’ trusts in wills:

  1. Trustee: The trust appoints a trustee, often a responsible adult, who will manage the assets on behalf of the minor beneficiaries until they reach the specified age. The trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the minors. It is important to name substitute trustees in case the originally named trustee cannot act or is deceased at the time of the death of the testator.
  2. Terms and Conditions: The trust document outlines the terms and conditions for distributing the trust assets to the minors. These terms can be quite flexible.
  3. Age of Distribution: The trust specifies the age at which the minors will gain control over the trust assets. This age is chosen by the testator and can be any age deemed appropriate. The trust can also provide for staggered distributions at different ages if desired.
  4. Control: Until the minors reach the specified age, the trustee has significant control over the trust assets. This is intended to protect the assets from being mismanaged or wasted by young beneficiaries who may lack the financial maturity to handle them responsibly.
  5. Use of Assets: The trust may outline specific purposes for which trust funds can be used, such as education expenses, housing, healthcare, and other necessities, or it can be left to the discretion of the trustee to meet any and all needs of the beneficiary.
  6. Termination: The trust may terminate when the beneficiaries reach the specified age, at which point they gain full control of the trust assets.


Consider naming your trust as the beneficiary for non-probate assets like life insurance, 401(k)s, IRAs, and annuities. This ensures that these assets are managed as per your wishes and not paid directly to your children outside of the trust. It gives you control and safeguards the assets until your children are ready to manage them. For more information, you can read my earlier blog on non-probate assets.


Minors’ trusts in wills are a valuable estate planning tool for parents or individuals who want to ensure their minor children or other young beneficiaries are financially provided for in a structured and responsible manner in the event of their death. Properly setting up and funding such trusts requires careful consideration of the beneficiaries’ needs and the testator’s intentions, often with the assistance of legal and financial professionals.

Chip LoCoco

New Orleans Estate Planning Attorney