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Form 1099-R - Death benefit/minor child beneficiary

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A minor child is designated as the beneficiary of a death benefit. In most (all?) states, the benefit can't be paid directly to the child. The payment check(s) must be issued to the "Parent or guardian of the minor child...".

How do you prepare Form 1099-R at year-end? Common sense tells me that the income is taxable to the beneficiary, not to his/her guardian. Shouldn't the Form 1099-R should be filed under the minor child's name, as recipient, using the child's own SSN? The fact that the payment checks are issued under the protection of a parent or guardian doesn't change the ultimate tax treatment of the benefit.

How do you handle this situation? How do you prepare Form 1099-R when a minor child is designated as beneficiary of a death benefit?

Lori Friedman

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Years ago when I was in public accounting, we issued the 1099R using the Trustee/gaurdians name FBO child beneficiary and under the kids SSN. That was pre 1997 so I don't know if you still handle it the same.


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At the risk of stating the obvious, we try to make sure that beneficiary designations are not done naming minor children. Our beneficiary instructions specifically so state. The beneficiary designation should be to the guardian, personal representative or trustee consistent with the estate planning. Otherwise they will be probated.

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