UGMA vs UTMA: A Comparison of Two Custodial Accounts for Minors

In the world of financial planning, there are various ways to save for your child’s future. Two common options are Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA). Let’s discuss both in detail to understand the basics. Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) was introduced in 1956, which enables parents to transfer gifts to their underage children. The gifts may include money, investments, real estate, and stocks. The custodian or guardian of the account can manage the funds until the child reaches legal adulthood, which means 18 or 21 years, depending on the state laws where you reside. Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) is a similar law to UGMA that was introduced in 1986. It offers slightly larger options for parents that allow them to transfer any assets that are not included in the UGMA account, such as artwork, patents, and royalties. UTMA custodians can manage the account until the minor is 18 to 25 years of age, depending upon the state. The main difference between UGMA and UTMA relates to the nature of assets that parents can transfer to the minor. UGMA’s scope is limited to a few basic types of assets. UTMA, on the other hand, includes transferable assets such as patents, royalties, and patents.

Understanding Differences: UGMA vs UTMA

Understanding UGMA

  • UGMA was introduced in 1956 and enables parents to transfer gifts to their underage children.
  • The gifts may include money, investments, real estate, and stocks.
  • UGMA custodians have the responsibility of managing the funds until the child reaches legal adulthood, which is either 18 or 21 years of age, depending on the state laws where you reside.
  • The minor receives all the funds automatically when they turn 18-21 years old.

Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)

  • UTMA allows parents to transfer a more extensive range of assets than UGMA, such as artwork, royalties, etc.
  • Introduced in 1986, the UTMA act was developed to provide a broader framework for custodian accounts than UGMA.
  • Like UGMA, UTMA custodians have the responsibility of managing the account until the minor is 18 to 25 years of age, depending upon the state.
  • At the age of majority, the minor can claim all the assets, including investments gained through interest and dividends or growth.

Ugma Vs Utma: Understanding Differences: UGMA vs UTMA

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What is the difference between UGMA and UTMA accounts?

The main difference between UGMA and UTMA accounts is that UTMA accounts allow for more types of assets to be held in the account, while UGMA accounts are limited to only securities.

Key Differences between UGMA and UTMA

UGMA vs UTMA
UGMA accounts are limited to assets such as cash, stocks, securities, and real estate. In contrast, UTMA offers a wider range of assets including stocks, bonds, real estate, and patents.

UGMA accounts typically expire when the child reaches 18 or 21, depending upon the state, while the UTMA account can last longer. Some states allow a custodian to hold a UTMA account until the minor turns 25.

It’s important to note the differences between UGMA and UTMA accounts when considering the best options for your child’s financial future.

Ugma Vs Utma: Key Differences between UGMA and UTMA

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What is the age limit for UTMA accounts in different states?

The age limit for UTMA accounts varies by state.

Tax Implications for UGMA and UTMA Accounts

Tax Concerns of UGMA and UTMA

  • The earnings and capital gains generated from investments in UGMA and UTMA accounts are taxed at the minor’s tax rate, which is typically lower compared to an adult’s tax rate.
  • For both accounts, the first $1,050 of investment income is tax-free, the next $1,050 is taxed at a reduced rate, and the remaining amount is taxed at the minor’s tax rate.
  • Parents or guardians need to be aware of the potential gift tax implications when transferring assets in UGMA or UTMA accounts. For example, the annual gift tax exclusion for 2021 is $15,000 per child for each parent or grandparent.

Ugma Vs Utma: Tax Implications for UGMA and UTMA Accounts

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What are the potential gift tax implications when transferring assets in UGMA and UTMA accounts?

Transferring assets in UGMA and UTMA accounts may trigger gift tax implications, as these accounts are considered custodial accounts, with the child as the owner and the adult as the custodian. The gift tax may apply if the transfer exceeds the annual exclusion amount.

Withdrawals and Consequences

Withdrawing Funds from UGMA and UTMA Accounts

  • Parents or guardians may withdraw funds from UGMA or UTMA accounts only for the benefit of the minor recipient.
  • Withdrawals for non-beneficiary purposes might trigger taxes and penalties, such as additional income tax and a 10% penalty on the earnings for under age 18 accounts.
  • Once the minor reaches legal age, they gain complete control over the assets in UGMA and UTMA accounts. The account custodian can’t control or prevent the minor from using or withdrawing the funds.

Ugma Vs Utma:  Withdrawals and Consequences

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What happens when the minor reaches legal age in UGMA and UTMA accounts?

When the minor reaches legal age in UGMA and UTMA accounts, they gain complete control and ownership of the account.

Tax implications for UGMA and UTMA accounts

Tax Concerns of UGMA and UTMA

  • Earnings and capital gains from UGMA or UTMA accounts are taxed at the minor’s tax rate. The rate differs from state to state. In most states, the first $1,050 is tax-free, while the next $1,050 is taxed at a lower rate, and any additional amount above $2,100 is taxed at the minor’s rate.
  • If UGMA/UTMA accounts earn more than $2,200, they may need to file a tax return in their name.
  • Investors can transfer UGMA and UTMA accounts to other 529 plans or Coverdell Education Saving Accounts without triggering taxes. This can simplify tax reporting and still provide for the child’s future education expenses.

Ugma Vs Utma:  Tax implications for UGMA and UTMA accounts

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What is the tax rate for earnings and capital gains in UGMA and UTMA accounts?

The tax rate for earnings and capital gains in UGMA and UTMA accounts is based on the child’s tax bracket.

Conclusion

In the world of financial planning, UGMA and UTMA are valuable tools for parents to provide for their child’s future. Both accounts allow parents to transfer income-generating assets, which can benefit the child when they reach adulthood. However, there are some key differences between them and tax implications to consider before investing. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and determine the best option according to your family’s financial goals. Moreover, if you’re not up to the process of managing an investment account for your child, there are other alternatives like a 529 plan or Coverdell ESA that could be considered. Ultimately, working with a qualified financial planner can help you navigate the various choices and make the decision that meets your family’s long-term needs.

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