Age of Majority by State for Trust Accounts Under UTMA

In this article...
  • If your parent created a trust for you as a child, the age of majority by state determines when you'll receive the trust assets. Find out how it works.

When you reach the age of majority, the law considers you a legal adult. It's 21 in Mississippi, 19 in Alabama and Nebraska and 18 in all other states. However, if you'll inherit money under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act when you come of age, a different age of majority by state may apply.

UTMA allows parents to transfer assets, including but not limited to cash, investment accounts and real estate, to the ownership of their child. A trust holds ownership of the assets, under the management of a trustee, until the child reaches the age of majority. In many states, parents can arrange for the child to receive the trust assets at any age or after they meet certain conditions, such as completing their education.

What's the Age of Majority by State for UTMA?

UTMA applies to trust funds and similar accounts managed by a custodian until you're old enough to take over the assets. You can fully take over fund management at age:

  • 18 if you live in California, Kentucky, Louisiana or South Dakota
  • 21 if you live in Wyoming, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Vermont, Utah, Texas, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Oregon, North Dakota, North Carolina, New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maryland, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Hawaii, Georgia, Delaware, Connecticut, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona, Alaska and Alabama

The age of majority for UTMA in other states varies depending on the type of trust or the wishes of the person who established the trust on your behalf (a parent or grandparent, for example). 

Are There Exceptions to the UTMA Age of Majority?

If you're at least 18 but haven't reached the UTMA age of majority in your state, you can request a transfer of the trust assets to your management if:

  • The person who created the trust owes you money
  • The trust holds less than $10,000 and either no custodian is named or the custodian died
  • The trust agreement specifies that assets transfer to you during probate, but the person who created the trust doesn't have a will or has a will that doesn't align with the trust agreement. In this case, the assets must be worth less than $10,000, and you must show the court that the exception is in your best interest.

When any of these circumstances apply but you're not yet 18, the court transfers your assets to a custodial account that you can access on your 18th birthday. It's important to confirm the process in your state when requesting an exception. 

What Else Can I Do at the Age of Majority?

In addition to the age of majority for trust purposes, your state has other rules about what you can do when you reach this established age. You gain the right to sign a legal contract, enlist in the military and vote. In many states, you can also undergo medical treatment without parent permission, purchase tobacco and buy insurance. 

You can't drink at the age of majority in any state. The federal legal drinking age is 21 across the board. Even after reaching the age of majority, you can stay on your parent's health insurance until age 26 in every state. Your parent might also have to continue paying child support. In most states, the age of majority is different than the age of emancipation, when you can petition the court for adult legal rights (typically 16). 

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