September 6, 2011
529 Guru Tells “A College Savings Story”
(Joe Hurley, savingforcollege.com) — Now that it is officially College Savings Month, I would like to share a story concerning my aunt, who passed away in 2008. About a year before she died, “Aunt Jane” moved to an assisted living facility located close to her home in Sarasota. Having never had children of her own, responsibility for her care fell to me, the “CPA in the family.”
With her being in Florida, and me in New York, the handling of Aunt Jane’s financial and personal needs was a challenge, to say the least. Luckily, she was in a wonderful facility. Even better, there was one particular aide at that facility who took my aunt under her wing. “Lorena” spent many extra hours visiting with my aunt, handling her mail, balancing her checkbook, even driving to the store to buy food for Aunt Jane’s cat. I was amazed and grateful for Lorena’s generosity and compassion.
Lorena has two children of her own, both boys. In administering my aunt’s estate, I made the suggestion, and the other beneficiaries agreed, that the estate establish college-savings accounts in a 529 plan for Lorena’s boys. I chose Utah’s 529 plan, in part because of the beautiful certificates they produce and mail out to the beneficiaries of new accounts.
Lorena’s oldest boy graduated from high school this past May, and has now enrolled at the local community college with the intention of attending the University of Florida after two years to study civil engineering. I have shifted the ownership of the 529 plan from Aunt Jane’s estate to Lorena, so that she can now direct withdrawals from the account for the benefit of her son.
Her younger son is now entering high school and looks forward to playing on the football team. His 529 account will help to pay for college when he graduates from high school in four years.
I have no knowledge of Lorena’s personal financial situation, or how much difference the 529 accounts are making in the education of her children. That’s not important. I do know that my aunt wanted to express her appreciation to Lorena in some way, and that Lorena in turn appreciates the college assistance. When updating me on the boys’ plans, she always ends her letters by writing “Thank you so much and God Bless You.” More…Posted by: psilberman