What are the advantages of a 529 college savings plan?
There is no limit on contributions but some states tend to limit contributions once the plan assets have reached a defined maximum (typically $200,000 - $250,000). Under a special election, you may make contributions of up to $70,000 per beneficiary in a single year without triggering a federal gift tax by accelerating five years' worth of contributions (gifts) as of 2013. Married couples may contribute $140,000 per beneficiary in a single year.*
Assets are professionally managed by fund managers selected by the state. Participants can choose from two to almost 30 mutual fund-type investments. Control of the account remains with the contributor regardless of the age of the beneficiary.
* A $70,000 gift is viewed as an accelerated gift over five years. Any other gifts to the same beneficiary by the contributor within five years may result in a federal gift-tax liability. If the contributor dies within the five-year period, a prorated portion of the contribution may be included in his or her taxable estate for federal estate tax purposes.