A T. Rowe Price UGMA/UTMA Account can be used to start your child on the path to investing.
An UGMA or UTMA (named for the Uniform Gifts to Minors and Uniform Transfers to Minors Acts) is a custodial account that allows you to give money to a minor while maintaining control over the money until the child reaches the age of majority.
UGMA/UTMA accounts are simple to set up and can invest in virtually any asset, including mutual funds, stocks, and bonds.
These accounts have an adult custodian (you, or whomever you designate) who controls the money—how it is invested and spent—until the child reaches the age of majority or the custodianship terminates. The legal age in most states is 18 or 21, although some states allow UTMA custodianships to continue to age 25.
Gifts and transfers to minors are irrevocable. The funds must be spent to benefit the child, and donors are prohibited from ever taking the money back for other uses or for another child. When the custodianship terminates (usually your state’s age of majority), the money must be turned over to the former minor—to use as he or she sees fit.
Because money placed in an UGMA/UTMA account is owned by the child, earnings are generally taxed at the child’s—usually lower—tax rate, rather than the parent’s rate. For some families, this savings can be significant.
|Children under age 19 or 24*|
|Up to $950 in earnings tax-free.|
|The next $950 is taxable at child's tax rate.|
|Any earnings over $1,900 are taxed at parent’s rate.|
*Age 19, or age 24 for full-time students whose unearned income does not provide half of their support.
Because the money in a custodial account is your child’s asset and not yours, be aware that UGMA/UTMA assets potentially can have a significant impact on the financial aid package the student receives. College financial aid formulas typically require a student to contribute more of his or her total assets to college costs each year (up to 35%), whereas parents are expected to contribute less, sometimes only 5.6% of their total assets per year.
If you currently own an UGMA or UTMA account, you may use it to fund an ESA or
529 plan for that minor (it may not be used for a different minor). However, the liquidation of the UGMA/UTMA is a taxable event.
Our College Planning section offers a College Savings Plan Comparison Table that lets you review your college choices side by side. UGMAs and UTMAs can be useful tools to save for college or to set aside money for expenses that aren’t covered by an ESA or 529 plan.