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Custodial accounts (UGMA/UTMA)

Invest on behalf of a minor for any future expense

Set aside money to pay for education or any expense that benefits a child. Funds in the account are considered a permanent gift that becomes the child's assets once he or she reaches age of termination.
May be a good move for:
  • The ability to use funds for any beneficiary expense
  • Accessing a full range of investment choices
  • Making contributions up to annual gift tax limits1
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Features and benefits

  • Funds can be used for any purpose as long as it benefits the minor (including college expenses)
  • You have the responsibility to transfer the assets to the minor upon reaching the termination age.
  • Can be funded with cash or securities
  • Anyone can contribute on behalf of a child

Tax advantages

  • In 2021, the first $1,100 of a child's income generally is tax-exempt, the next $1,100 of unearned income generally is taxed at the child's tax rate, and unearned income over $2,200 generally is taxed at the child's parents' tax rate if the child is under age 18, or the child is age 18 and does not have earned income that is more than half of his or her financial support, or is a full-time student that is at least age 19 and under age 24 who does not have earned income that is more than half of his or her financial support if at least one parent is living at the end of the tax year and the child is not filing a joint return for the tax year. (Retroactively for 2018 and 2019, taxpayers may make an election to have the child's parents' tax rate apply instead of the estates and trusts rate that was applicable for 2018 and 2019.)

No contribution or age limits

There's no age limit for making contributions and withdrawals, but you must transfer ownership of the account to the minor upon age of termination. You can contribute up to the annual gifting limits of $15,000 for individuals or $30,000 for couples gift tax free.

Investment choices

Choose from a wide range of stocks, bonds, ETFs and well-known mutual funds with easy-to-use tools to help you narrow down your investment choices.

How much do you need to save for college?

Pricing and fees

Merrill offers unlimited $0 online stock, ETF and option trades with no trade or balance minimums5
Option contract and other fees may apply2
Annual account fee
Minimum initial funding requirement
Additional transaction, service and investment fees

Get started

It's as easy as 1-2-3

Open an account

Open your account online in minutes. Here's what you'll need:
  • Social Security number and date of birth
  • A valid mailing and email address
  • Employment information (including company name, address and start date)
  • General financial information (such as annual income and household net worth)
  • Names and dates of birth for any beneficiaries
Or call us 24/7 at 866.460.1282

Fund your account3

There are several ways to fund your new account:

Transfer Cash

Fund instantly from your eligible linked Bank of America® bank account or Merrill investment account.
Up to 3 business days
Fund within a few days from an eligible linked account at another financial institution.

Wire transfer

Same day
Wire funds electronically from another financial institution.

Write a check

3 to 5 days
Fund your account by mailing a personal, cashier's or bank check.

Transfer accounts or securities

8 or more days
Transfer an existing brokerage account, IRA account or securities from another financial institution. You can also transfer securities instantly between your Merrill accounts.

Start investing

Create an investment strategy:
Build a balanced portfolio aligned to your investment goals in 3 easy steps.
Find the right investments:
Choose from a variety of stocks, bonds, ETFs and thousands of mutual funds. Narrow your investment choices with our easy-to-use screening tools.
Manage your portfolio:
Access your new Merrill investment account anytime, anywhere—online, on your mobile device and at thousands of Bank of America® ATMs.
Looking for investment advice and guidance?
Meet with a Financial Solutions Advisor at more than 2,000 select Bank of America financial centers.
Or call us 24/7 at 866.460.1282

Important disclosures

BofA Global Research is equity research produced by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith incorporated and/or one or more of its non-U.S. affiliates.
Neither Merrill nor any of its affiliates or financial advisors provide legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.
1 The gift-tax exclusion applies, provided you make no other gifts to the beneficiary during a five-year period. Contributions between $15,000 and $75,000 ($30,000 and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly) made in one year can be prorated over a five-year period without subjecting you to gift tax or reducing your federal unified estate and gift tax exemption. If you contribute less than the $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples filing jointly) maximum, additional contributions can be made without you being subject to federal gift tax, up to a prorated level of $15,000 ($30,000 for married couples filing jointly) per year. Gift taxation may result if a contribution exceeds the available annual gift tax exclusion amount remaining for a given beneficiary in the year of contribution. For contributions between $15,000 and $75,000 ($30,000 and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly) made in one year, if the account owner dies before the end of the five-year period, a prorated portion of the contribution may be included in his or her estate for federal estate tax purposes. Please consult your tax and/or legal advisor for such guidance.
2 Other fees may apply. Free and $0 means there is no commission charged for these trades. $0 option trades are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee. Sales are subject to a transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. There are costs associated with owning ETFs. To learn more about Merrill pricing, visit our Pricing page.
3 Fees and expenses are subject to change. Please note that other fees and expenses may apply, including early withdrawal penalties and trustee transfer fees. For Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated's standard brokerage fees, please see the Miscellaneous Fees schedule. For Bank of America N.A.'s fees, see your Personal Schedule of Fees.
Certain banking and brokerage accounts may be ineligible for real-time money movement, including but not limited to transfers to/from bank IRAs (CD, Money Market), 529s, Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking™, Credit Cards and transfers from IRAs, Loans (HELOC, LOC, Mortgage) and accounts held in the military bank. Accounts eligible for real-time transfers will be displayed online in the to/from drop down menu on the transfer screen.
5 Merrill waives its commissions for all online stock, ETF and option trades placed in a Merrill Edge®¬†Self-Directed brokerage account. Brokerage fees associated with, but not limited to, margin transactions, special stock registration/gifting, account transfer and processing and termination apply. $0 option trades are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee. Other fees and restrictions may apply. Pricing is subject to change without advance notice.