Q: Can I open an UTMA for a 15 year old?
I was under the impression that once a child was over 13 years old, an UTMA could not be established as a savings, it is then a youth savings or joint. What is the case, I can find a lot of information on disbursements of UTMA but nothing on establishing. This is an UTMA unrelated to Title 13
UTMA stands for Uniform Transfer to Minors Act and is governed by Title 13 of the Estates and Trust Code, so claiming an UTMA account isn't governed by Title 13 will do you no good. There is no age 13 limit. The age of majority in Maryland is 18, so any person under 18 is a "minor." You have several options:
(1) Open an UTMA account, whereby the money is deemed owned by the minor child, but may not be accessed by the minor chld until they reach age 21, at which time they have complete access and sole control over the funds in the account. Until that happens, the custodian of the account (the legal guardian who sets up the account for the minor) has authority only to withdraw and expend the funds for necessary and reasonable expenditures for the health and care of the minor. The authority to withdraw funds only arises once the minor reached the age of 14, and often requires court approval.
(2) Establish a trust, by which you draft the terms of how the money may be managed for the benefit of the minor and at what age and under what circumstances the minor/beneficiary will receive the money. The trustee can have broad powers to invest and expend the money as set forth in the terms of the trust, as well as make withdrawals and expenditures for a broader category of purposes than that allowed for under an UTMA account, and without court approval. There is an expense to setting up and drafting a trust, so unless the money expected to be deposited in trust now or over time is substantial, this may not be an economically viable solution.
(3) A youth savings account, as you mentioned, which will allow the minor the ability to access the funds as well as the co-signing adult on the account.
(4) Various college savings plans, specifically, a 529 College Savings Plan.
(5) Simply deposit the money you intend to gift to your child into a separate account in your name, and manage the money for your child's benefit and distribute it whenever and how you choose because the money will always remain yours. You may name the minor as a "transfer on death" beneficiary under the account if you wish to insure he/she gets the funds upon your passing. You cannot do this option if the money being deposited is not already your money, but is money received from elsewhere for your child's benefit, and if the money exceeds $5,000 in value (if less than $5,000, no UTMA account needs to be established, but can be held in the name of the minor's legal guardian).
A: The answer is that, in New York -- and this should be the same in other states -- the age is 18. Your bank will assist you in this since they are the ones who will open the account.
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