Financial & Estate Planning

In your will you could leave a certain amount with the direction that the executor use the funds to establish a 529 savings account for a child or grandchild, for example. If so, your will also should name the owner of the account.

However, this may not be a good idea.


* At the time of your death, the child may have already completed his or her education, or may already have sufficient assets saved in other vehicles to pay for higher education.

* The owner of the 529 account could distribute the funds to himself, or could change the beneficiary of the account, thus depriving the child of the funds.

An alternative strategy would be to include a provision in your will that permits the executor, at the time of your death, to decide whether it would be appropriate to distribute such funds to a custodial account, a 529 account, a relative, or to a trust. This will give your executor the flexibility to make the distribution to the child in a way that makes sense, given the child’s circumstances at the time of your death.