Here are answers to some of the questions we receive on gifting. Have another question? Give us a call toll-free at 1-877-861-MESP (6377), Mon - Fri, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm ET. We’ll be happy to help you.
How can an account owner invite family and friends to give a gift?
There are a couple ways account owners can suggest to family and friends that contributing to a child’s 529 college savings plan makes a great gift – one that lasts a lot longer than toys or clothes. You can do it in a personal conversation or send family and friends a quick, tactful email pre-written by us and invite them to give. Just fill in the name of your child and the email addresses of the family and friends you want to send the invitation to, and we’ll do the rest.
How do family and friends gift a MESP account or contribute to an existing account?
Family and friends can contribute to a MESP account in just a few clicks with our secure e-gifting option through a link in the email invitation. Of course, if preferred, family and friends can also send a check or money order (with the account number they’re contributing to clearly indicated) or even open their own MESP account for a child.*
Is there a minimum amount for gifting?
Yes, as with regular contributions, the minimum amount friends and family may contribute (gift) to an existing account is $25.
Can friends and family members open a new MESP account as a gift?
Can friends and family members make changes to an existing MESP account?
No, only the person who opened the account (the account owner) can make changes. The account owner has complete control of the account. Friends and family members can only contribute to an existing account.
Can a child have more than one MESP account?
Yes. Each account can have only one account owner and one beneficiary (child). However, each beneficiary may have more than one account, and you may open separate accounts for as many different beneficiaries as you wish. Everyone from a parent to another family member or a friend can open an account for a child, as long as they have the child’s Social Security Number (SSN) or federal Taxpayer Identification Number.
How are gift contributions invested?
Contributions to a MESP account are invested according to the investment allocation the account owner has established for the account. Friends and family members can only contribute to the account; they cannot chose how the money is invested. Only account owners can access the account and make changes to the investment allocation.
What impact do IRS Gift Law Limits have?
Contributions to the MESP plan may reduce the taxable value of your estate. Your contributions, together with all other gifts from you to the designated beneficiary, may qualify for an annual federal gift tax exclusion of $14,000 per donor, per designated beneficiary for 2013. If your contribution to an account in the MESP plan exceeds that $14,000 (or $28,000 for joint filers) exclusion, you may elect to treat up to $70,000 of the contributions (or $140,000 for joint filers) as having been made over a period of up to five years for purposes of determining your annual federal gift tax exclusion. Consult your tax advisor for additional details.
Is the MESP account owner notified when gift contributions are made to his or her account?
Yes. Account owners receive a confirmation statement for contributions made via one-time e-gifting or check (not via an Automatic Contribution Plan or payroll deduction).
Does a parent or guardian receive a confirmation if an account is established, or future contributions made, for their child by someone else?
No. Only the account owner will receive a confirmation statement when an account is established and funds are contributed. If a friend or family member opens an account for another person’s child, it is up to that individual to inform the parent, guardian or child about the account and any contributions made.
How does the gift giver ensure that the account owner and the child know that a gift has been sent?
Family and friends who contribute can simply download and complete a MESP plan Gift of Education Certificate. It can then be wrapped, framed or placed in a card to present to a child as a gift.
*The type of checks accepted are personal checks (excluding starter checks, credit card convenience checks and counter checks), bank drafts, teller's checks and checks issued by a financial institution payable to the account owner and endorsed over to the MESP plan, and third-party personal checks up to $10,000. Checks must be drawn on a U.S. banking institution and must be payable in U.S. dollars.