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The usual case is a minor, a person who has not attained 18 years of age, although an adult can also lack legal capacity, such as an adult under a substantial disability for whom a guardianship has been established.
In order for you to satisfy your requirements for
making distribution, the heir or
beneficiary must have legal capacity, and a minor, for example, lacks such
Net result: Make sure that if any heir or beneficiary lacks legal capacity, you deal with that person through his/her proper fiduciary.
Distribution Issues: See RCW 11.76.095 (although note that the statute inexplicably fails to provide for intestate estates distributed under Nonintervention Powers). Appropriate distributees for the benefit of an incapacitated heir or beneficiary:
Trustee. To a named Trustee of a trust for the
benefit of that person, for example, if such a trust is named in the Decedent's
Will or the distribution to a trustee is otherwise acceptable to the Court. See
UTMA Custodian. A Custodian under the Washington Transfers to Minors Act (RCW 11.76.095(3) and see RCW 11.114), if the transfer qualifies under that Act (See RCW 11.114.090.) Such transfers may be made under Nonintervention Powers (RCW 11.68.090(1)) without Court authorization for either of the following:
A Personal Representative of a testate estate in which the Will authorizes such transfers. RCW 11.114.050
A Personal Representative of either an
intestate estate or a testate estate in which the Will fails to authorize such
transfers so long as the transfer does not exceed $30,000 in value.
Blocked Account. A
blocked account at an insured financial institution (RCW
11.76.095(1)), from which the minor may obtain the proceeds upon
attaining age 18 years and proving his/her age to the financial
If the Decedent has planned for the possible distribution to a minor (eg, authorized distribution to a Trustee or Custodian), the King County Court will usually support that distribution. If no such planning is evidenced, the King County Court will usually prefer distribution to a blocked account over that to a Custodian. [Remarks by Commissioner Watness at Ex Parte Practice Tips CLE Program, KCBA, December 15, 2004.]