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Here are some of the concerns:. Those assets belong to the child. Never transfer assets to a custodial account if you have any concern whatever that you may need to recover those assets later. When your child turns 21 or an earlier age, in some states , the custodian must turn the assets over to the child. Some people are mature and thoughtful at age 21 or earlier; many are not. Some people think of a custodial account as a good way to save for college, and learn only later that the account causes a reduction in financial aid.
Under current law, assets owned by the child including any assets in a custodial account for the benefit of that child count much more heavily than parental assets in determining financial aid awards.
For children who are college-bound, the availability of financial aid is a relevant concern in setting up a custodial account.
A custodial account belongs to only one child. That can be a real dilemma for parents who are intent on treating their children equally. A trust can be set up for the benefit of all your children, but a custodial account is owned directly by the child named at the time it was established. The reason is that if you die before the account terminates, the account will be included in your estate.
This is true even though the transfers to the account are completed gifts. The account is included in your estate because you retained the power to determine how your gift will be applied for the benefit of your child. You can avoid the problem by naming as custodian someone who will not make any gifts to the account. For example, a grandparent might name the parent as the custodian. You have a legal obligation to support your child.
If you use income of the custodial account to satisfy that obligation, the IRS may contend that the income will be taxed to you in that case, not to your child. If you are concerned about this issue, you should use the account only for items that supplement your legal obligation to support the child.
Exactly where to draw the line is the subject of much debate, and may vary depending on your economic status and the particular state law that applies. If your child dies before receiving the account, the assets will pass according to the law of your state. Often the result is not what you would have wished, especially if the child has siblings. When you establish a trust for your child, you can plan for this possibility. Before establishing a custodial account, you should carefully consider your objectives and other ways you may achieve them.
Another possibility is to set up a trust. When Custodial Accounts Go Sour. What Expenditures Are Proper? Compensation in Stock and Options. Thomas Current as of July 8, Consider Your Options A plain-language guide for people who receive stock options or other forms of equity compensation.
Equity Compensation Strategies A text for financial advisors and other professionals who offer advice on how to handle equity compensation including stock options.
Capital Gains, Minimal Taxes Tax rules and strategies for people who buy, own and sell stocks, mutual funds and stock options. A publication of Fairmark Press Inc. Thomas - That Thing Rich People Do. A plain-language guide for people who receive stock options or other forms of equity compensation. A text for financial advisors and other professionals who offer advice on how to handle equity compensation including stock options. Capital Gains, Minimal Taxes.
Tax rules and strategies for people who buy, own and sell stocks, mutual funds and stock options.