Uniform Gift to Minors Act Account (UGMA) | Definition

/ˈyo͞onəˌfôrm gift to͞o ˈmīnərs ak(t) əˈkount/

an account | expense | economy | pension | bitcoin | 401(k) | lender | wealth | return | grant | asset | check | fafsa | will | wage | fdic | bank | loan | bond | fund | spac | debt | loan | atm | definitionsset up for children, where assets can be gifted to the minor, to which they will have access once they become the legal adult age in their respective states.

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Did You Know

The money put into the UGMA account can be used to purchase different types of financial commodities, which can help the money grow through compound interest. The exponential growth of the invested money can help the child fulfill their educational or career goals.

Parents often want to secure their children's financial future and provide them with a solid financial foundation. 


One way to accomplish this is through the Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA). UGMA is a legal tool that allows parents to give assets to their children while still retaining some control over the assets until the child reaches a certain age.


What is a Uniform Gift to Minors Act?


UGMA is a law that allows parents to gift assets to their children, such as cash, securities, real estate, and other types of property. The assets are held in a custodial account for the benefit of the child until they reach the age of majority in their state, which is typically 18 or 21 years old. 


The custodian of the account is responsible for managing the assets and making investment decisions on behalf of the child until they reach the age of majority.


mother and daughter saving


Recommended Read: 4 Types of Personal Assets


How Does a Uniform Gift to Minors Act Work?


To create a UGMA account, a custodian is named, and assets are gifted to the account. The assets belong to the child, but the custodian manages them until the child reaches the age of majority. The custodian can use the assets for the child's benefit but must file tax returns and pay taxes owed on the account.


Three Advantages of a Uniform Gift to Minors Act


  1. UGMA allows parents to gift assets to their children without the need for a trust or will.
  2. UGMA is a simple and inexpensive way to transfer assets to a child.
  3. UGMA allows parents to maintain some control over the assets until the child reaches the age of majority.


Three Disadvantages of a Uniform Gift to Minors Act


  1. Once the child reaches the age of majority, they have full control over the assets and can use them however they choose.
  2. Uniform Gift to Minors Act accounts can affect a child's eligibility for financial aid for college.
  3. Uniform Gift to Minors Act accounts can have tax implications for the child.




UGMA and UTMA (Uniform Transfers to Minors Act) are similar legal tools that allow parents to transfer assets to their children. However, there are some key differences between the two. UTMA allows parents to transfer a wider range of assets, such as intellectual property, while UGMA is limited to tangible property. 


Additionally, UTMA allows parents to designate a specific age at which the child will receive full control over the assets, while UGMA automatically transfers control to the child at the age of majority.


Recommended Read: Investment Accounts for Kids: Options and Considerations


How to Use a UGMA to Help Children Invest 


Parents can use UGMA to facilitate their children's investment journey and teach them valuable lessons about financial planning. By establishing a UGMA account, parents can introduce their children to the world of investing and nurture their understanding of how money grows over time. For instance,  parents can use a UGMA account to educate their children about the basics of investing, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, emphasizing the importance of diversification and long-term thinking. 


family saving money


Parents also can encourage their children to contribute a portion of their own earnings or savings to the UGMA account, promoting a sense of ownership and responsibility. This not only instills the habit of saving but also provides opportunities for children to learn about the power of compounding and the potential for their investments to grow over time. 


As children mature and gain a better understanding of investing, parents can gradually grant them more control over the UGMA account, allowing them to make investment decisions within predetermined boundaries. This hands-on experience fosters financial independence and equips children with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful investing in the future.


Recommended Read: Invest in Your Child’s Future Through a UGMA Account


The Money Wrap-Up


The Uniform Gift to Minors Act is a legal tool that allows parents to gift assets to their children while still retaining some control over the assets until the child reaches a certain age. UGMA offers many advantages, such as simplicity and low cost, but it also has some disadvantages, such as tax implications and loss of control once the child reaches the age of majority. 


Before establishing a UGMA account, it's important to consider all the factors and consult with a financial advisor or attorney to determine if UGMA is the right option for your family.

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