Estate Planning and Saving For a Child’s College Education

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Tuesday November 9th, 2021.

According to the Education Data Initiative, the cost of higher education in the U.S. has tripled in the last 20 years. In Florida, the average cost of tuition and fees for a four-year institution is $15,511 and the national average for student loan debt is $37,584.

Have you considered the cost of higher education for your children in your estate planning? Here are a few options that can help you plan for their future.

529 Plans

Savings plans called 529 plans are intended for educational purposes and they come in two different types. The first type is a prepaid tuition plan, which allows for the purchase of future tuition fees at the current price. The money is meant for college or university tuition only and cannot be used for room and board.

The second is an education savings plan which allows for investment accounts that can be used for higher education expenses. This plan allows the money to be used for room and board and school supplies like laptops or books. 

Revocable Living Trust

With a revocable living trust, the provisions can be changed as often as you want while alive and define how the money should be spent. Should you wish some or all of the trust to be dedicated to education, you can define what is eligible in terms that you like. These provisions for education will stand even after your death, ensuring that your child’s education needs are met.

HEET: Health and Education Exclusion Trust

There is an irrevocable trust that can help you avoid paying a gift tax called a health and education trust or HEET. This trust is meant for your younger relatives, two or more generations after you. Any payments made to an educational institution from a HEET are not subject to gift taxes. 

Irrevocable Gifting Trust

If you want your gifts to extend beyond education, an irrevocable gifting trust may be the right option. You can shelter your gifts to beneficiaries with the annual gift exclusion if you include a Crummey power that allows gifts that normally wouldn’t be eligible for the exclusion. 

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