Custodial Account

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Definition of 'Custodial Account'

A custodial account is a type of account that is held by a custodian on behalf of another person, known as the beneficiary. Custodial accounts are often used for minors, as they allow parents or guardians to manage the child's finances until they reach a certain age.

There are two main types of custodial accounts:

* UGMA/UTMA accounts: These accounts are available to anyone under the age of 18. The custodian can be anyone, but it is often a parent or guardian. The beneficiary can use the money in the account for any purpose, but there are some restrictions on how it can be used for minors under the age of 18.
* 529 plans: These accounts are designed to save for college expenses. The beneficiary must be a U.S. citizen or resident, and the money in the account can only be used for qualified education expenses.

Custodial accounts offer a number of benefits, including:

* Tax advantages: The earnings in a custodial account are taxed at the beneficiary's tax rate, which is often lower than the tax rate of the custodian.
* Flexibility: The custodian has a lot of flexibility in how they manage the account. They can invest the money in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other investments.
* Control: The custodian has control over the account until the beneficiary reaches the age of majority. This can be helpful if the beneficiary is not yet old enough to make financial decisions on their own.

However, there are also some drawbacks to custodial accounts, including:

* The custodian has control over the account: This can be a disadvantage if the custodian is not trustworthy or if they make poor investment decisions.
* The beneficiary may not have access to the money until they reach the age of majority: This can be a problem if the beneficiary needs the money before they reach that age.
* There are some restrictions on how the money can be used: For example, the money in a UGMA/UTMA account cannot be used to buy life insurance or to pay for gambling or other illegal activities.

Custodial accounts can be a good way to save for a child's future, but it is important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks before opening one.

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