Planning for your family’s education
If postsecondary education is in your family’s future, whether for your children, grandchildren, or other family members, consider including one of the following tools in your estate plan. It can be an excellent way to help provide for the education needs of your loved ones.
Irrevocable Gifting Trust
Using either the annual gift tax exclusion or lifetime gift tax exemption, an irrevocable gifting trust holds and invests property for your chosen beneficiaries for a variety of purposes, not just education. If you want to use the annual gift tax exclusion to shelter gifts to the trust for gift tax purposes, you will need to include a Crummey power – a technique that allows your beneficiary to receive a gift that would not usually be eligible for gift tax exclusion but makes the gift eligible. Contact us for more information about this option.
Provision in a Revocable Living Trust
If you already have an existing revocable living trust, including a provision for the payment of your child’s or grandchild’s education expenses can be an easy way to help even if you pass away before the education is completed. Upon your passing, the money will be available to be used as you have directed. One benefit is that during your lifetime, you can change the trust provisions as often as you like. Additionally, you can determine how the money should be used.
Revocable Education Trust
A revocable education trust provides substantial flexibility, as it allows you to set up a trust, act as a trustee, and make distributions for your chosen beneficiary’s education, but it can be revoked or revised if the funds are needed for other purposes or if the beneficiary does not attend college. It will not provide the tax benefits of other trusts or education plans, but it may be a better option if flexibility is a priority.
Coverdell Education Savings Account
A Coverdell education savings account (ESA) is a savings account used to fund qualified education expenses. Although the contributions are not deductible, the distributions and growth are tax-free as long as the funds are used for qualified education expenses. Unlike some other options, the Coverdell ESA can be used toward qualified education expenses for elementary and secondary education without a monetary cap.
Working together with your financial team, we can craft a plan that accomplishes all of your family’s education goals and sets them up for the best possible future.