Commonly Asked Estate Planning Questions for Families


Can we leave our 401(k) to our minor children when we die?

-Pondering Parent’s


Dear Pondering Parent’s,

Though you are technically allowed to name a minor child as beneficiary of your 401(k), IRA, or other employment-sponsored retirement account, it’s never a good idea. Minor children cannot inherit the account until they reach the age of majority—which can be as old as 21 in some states. In Texas, it is 18 years of age.

If a minor is listed as the beneficiary, upon your death your retirement account would be distributed to a court-appointed custodian, who will or can be in charge of managing the funds (often for a fee) until the age of majority. If you want your child to inherit your retirement account, you should set up a trust to receive those assets instead. You can then name a trustee to manage the account until your child comes of age.

In doing this, you get to choose not only who would manage your child’s money, but within the trust’s terms, you can stipulate how and when the account’s funds should be distributed and used, which can help them from being lost or squandered.

As your Personal Family Lawyer® at Aria Law, PLLC, we can help you create a trust to hold your 401(k) for your minor children to ensure your heirs get the maximum benefit from your retirement savings. Please let us know if we can assist you or your family legally. We can be reached at (210) 373-1865 or by email at