Age of Majority and Trust Termination
The following table shows the age at which the minor takes control of the custodial account. It depends on the minor's state of residence and whether the custodial account was created as an UGMA or an UTMA account. Each state may have additional provisions affecting the age of termination. Also, some states permit the donor or transferor to specify a different age of termination at the time the gift or transfer is made.
Note that the age of termination is not necessarily the same as the age of majority in the state. The age of majority is the age at which an individual can sign contracts (i.e., no more "defense of infancy"). The age of termination is not the same as the age of majority. In most cases the age of termination comes later. (The age of majority for signing contracts is 18 in most states, except Alabama and Nebraska, where it is 19, and Indiana, Mississippi, New York and Puerto Rico, where it is 21. For child support purposes, the age of majority is 18 in most states, 19 in Alabama, Colorado, Maryland and Nebraska, and 21 in D.C., Indiana, Mississippi, and New York, with exceptions for a later age of majority if the child is still in secondary school.) The age of termination for UGMA and UTMA accounts is listed in the following table.
Note that some states permit the transfer to occur at a later date if this is specified in the titling of the account. For example, California allows the transfer to be delayed until as late as age 25 if the trust is titled "as custodian for (Name of Minor) until age (Age for Delivery of Property to Minor)". If the trust is not titled in this manner, the age of trust termination remains age 18.
(*) All states repealed their UGMA statutes upon enacting their UTMA statutes. Any UGMA accounts in existence before the date of the repeal are grandfathered using the original UGMA age of termination. The relevant dates when UTMA took effect for the various states are listed in this column.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 amended section 480(d)(1)(C) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to treat as independent any student who becomes an emancipated minor before reaching the age of majority. The specific legislative language is:
is, or was immediately prior to attaining the age of majority, an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship as determined by a court of competent jurisdiction in the individual's State of legal residence
The term "emancipation" is often used when a child reaches the age of majority or child support obligations end, but this is not the same as an "emancipated minor". An emancipated minor becomes an adult able to sign contracts before reaching the age of majority through a court order. A court order terminating child support upon the child's reaching the age of majority does not qualify, not even if it uses the word emancipation.
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