Macaulay Culkin, one of the most famous child stars of the 90s (so I hear LOL) thanks to his breakthrough performance in Home Alone, is relevant to US because he was emancipated when he was sixteen years old.
Emancipation is the removal of disability of nonage (It’s a word!). In other words, emancipation is the act by which a person gains all the rights and responsibilities of an adult. In Florida, emancipation AUTOMATICALLY happens when a minor reaches 18 years of age or when they marry. However, a minor can’t get married without parental consent (yes).
In order to sue his divorcing parents, Culkin needed to be emancipated first. So, what can we learn from this emancipation business?
We can learn not to give assets directly to minors. I often discuss the fact that minors, anyone under the age of 18 (in Florida), cannot have assets. They are like furniture. We can’t give our desk money just as we can’t give our children real property or list them as beneficiaries. It is very important that children under the age of 18 are not listed on deeds or placed as beneficiaries to the life insurance policies, pensions, IRAS, 401K, investment, bank accounts, etc.
Should the minor actually inherit the funds in these accounts or want to sell the real property, we would be forced to get a Court appointed legal guardian for the minor to manage the assets until the age of majority, 18. A parent is not PRESUMED to be the legal guardian, one must be Court appointed. This is not great.
If a minor (or two) are the desired heirs, the minors can be included in a TRUST and the TRUST would be named as the BENEFICIARY to the life insurance policies, pensions, IRAS, 401K, investment, bank accounts, etc.
As it turns out, Culkin’s mom won custody of Culkin during the divorce and Culkin stayed in her care until he turned 18.