College savings account holders should outline their requirements for distribution and name successors as part of estate planning.

Make College Savings Accounts Part of Estate Planning

Determine a successor to oversee the distribution of 529 plan funds in the event of a parent’s death.

College savings account holders should outline their requirements for distribution and name successors as part of estate planning.
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[Learn how grandparents can get education tax breaks.]

However, it's not guaranteed the rules families spell out will be followed

"You could request that the executor of your estate use the funds for the college education that you initially desired but just be aware that there could be beneficiaries who contest the will. Remember that sometimes beneficiaries plus money equals litigation," Eisenberg says.

In summary, name primary and secondary successors who will follow your wishes, Eisenberg says. But also prepare for possible taxes if the successor takes over.

"Check your state 529 plan rules to make sure that there are no state restrictions on ownership transferability," Eisenberg says. "You don't want to be surprised that upon the original owner's death, the transfer to a new owner would be subject to tax."

Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.