What Can We Learn From a Diamond Heiress?

In New Delhi, just this week, an eight-year-old girl, Devanshi Sanghvi, heiress to one of the oldest
diamond companies, has given up her worldly luxuries to become a monk, specifically Jain Sadhvi.
The 8-year-old has always led a pious life and her family reports that she’s never watched TV or a movie and never ate in a restaurant or stayed in a hotel. She’s prayed three times daily and after embracing monkhood as the youngest individual to take the Diksha ceremony has shaved her head and is now known as Sadhvi Diganthpragnashreeji.

So, what can us Floridians learn from this holy story?

Well, we can learn about the age of majority. Here in Florida, and most states, the age where a person becomes a legal adult is 18. The age of majority differentiates from when one isin the minority, the state of being a minor. When one reaches the age of 18, this is the magical moment when one ceases to be considered a minor and assumes legal control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thereby terminating the control and legal responsibilities of their parents or guardian over them.

Most (lol) eighteen-year-olds are ready for that minority / majority shift and as parents it’s our job to
prepare them for that shift (yay!). However, there may be some issues with these hard lined delineations. For example, some people may never make that transition due to unique abilities and
that’s when a legal guardian may be necessary. It’s not presumed that a parent is someone’s legal
guardian, a legal guardian of someone over the age of 18 must be appointed by a Judge.

Another issue is when someone under the age of eighteen has been named a beneficiary on an account or named on a deed. Again, a guardian will need to be established for that minor to manage those assets until they reach the age of eighteen.

Finally, we find ourselves creating trust, both living and testamentary, to provide trustee protection to anyone under the age of eighteen to allow for assets to be held for them until they reach certain ages. And we can learn that while we have multiple avenues to protect minors and manage their assets, here in Florida an eight-year-old would NEVER be allowed to give away their earthly possessions as they don’t have any possessions. How can you give away something you don’t have? Also, while a Judge may hear the wishes of a minor when it comes to custody issues (in the event of a divorce), it’s unlikely that even a Judge would allow them to enter into a monkhood (love that word!) situation.

Portrait of Odelia Goldberg, Esq.

With over 50 years of combined experience, our probate, estate planning, real estate, elder law and asset protection attorneys provide peace of mind for our clients throughout South Florida.

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