Naming Minor Children Under Age 18 as Beneficiaries for Death Benefits


An appropriate adult needs to manage payments from ACERA to minor children under age 18. For lump sums of $10,000 or less owed to a minor, ACERA can work with an adult member of the minor’s family or a trust company to make the payment. For lump sums greater than $10,000, and all monthly allowances, ACERA will need to work either with a “Custodian” named by the deceased member on the ACERA beneficiary designation form or a court-appointed Guardian of the Estate for the minor. For example, only a Custodian or Guardian of the Estate may make the election under Government Code Section 31781.1 for a lump sum death benefit or monthly allowance. Please consult the Uniform Transfers To Minors Act for more information about these rules. 

If you petition the court to become a Guardian of the Estate for the minor, we encourage you to bring this notice to the court, as some judges are not familiar with these rules and may assume that a guardianship is not necessary in some cases (especially when a parent is seeking to become the Guardian of the Estate). 

If no person is authorized to manage the payments for the minor child, that minor child may make any elections and receive funds on their own behalf upon reaching age 18. No interest will be added based on any delay in payments due to the lack of an authorized adult to the receive the funds at an earlier time. 

How To Name a Custodian for a Minor on Your Beneficiary Designation Form

If your beneficiary is a minor and you wish to name an adult to receive and manage payments for the minor without court appointment or court supervision until an age you choose, use the format to name the beneficiary as shown in the image below.

Image of the form showing how to name a custodian for a minor


Alternatively, You May Name a Minor as a Beneficiary Without Naming a Custodian

Alternatively, you may simply name the minor as beneficiary without naming a custodian, and all funds will be distributed to the beneficiary at age 18. For the beneficiary to receive funds before age 18, a court can appoint a custodian to supervise distribution of payments up to age 18. To do this, use the format as shown in the image below.

Image of the form showing how to name a minor without naming a custodian