U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that a woman who was named as the beneficiary of her former husband's 401(k) plan was entitled to inherit the money in the plan, even though state law said that the divorce had automatically revoked her right to inherit. Because a 401(k) plan is ruled by federal law (ERISA), it overruled the state law.
trusts, inheritances & estates
Language in a will or deed, used to transfer property to a person and that person's descendants only. Typically, the words take the form "to A, and the heirs of his body," where A is the person inheriting the property.
A statute, adopted by almost all states, that provides a method for transferring property to minors and arranging for an adult to manage it until the child is old enough to receive it. Often called by its acronym, UTMA.
A standard set of laws, enacted by some U.S. states, to deal with inheritance in the case that two people die simultaneously. The Act says that if two (or more) people die within 120 hours of each other, each is considered to have predeceased the other unless a will or other document specifies otherwise.
A uniform statute that sets out guidelines for trustees to follow when investing trust assets.
A standard comprehensive set of laws, adopted in whole or in part by various states, that regulate the administration of estates, including wills and trusts.
A uniform statute, adopted by most states, that in its most recent version allows some trustees to make adjustments that were not formerly allowed. For example, a trustee could distribute principal to income beneficiaries if it were necessary to carry out the purpose of the trust.
A uniform law, adopted by many states, that allows an adult to give money or securities to a child but have the assets managed by someone of the donor's choosing, called a custodian. The gift is made during the donor's lifetime, not at death. The custodianship ends, and the property goes to the beneficiary outright, at an age set by state law, usually 18 or 21. Compare: Uniform Transfers to Minors Act