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Will My Bankruptcy Affect My Child's 529 College Saving Plan?

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In a Nutshell

If you've deposited funds into a 529 College Savings Plan for your child, you probably want to know how filing bankrtupcy will affect them. Whether the funds are protected will depend on how long ago you deposited them.

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated January 26, 2022

Whether the funds in your child's 529 plan are protected when you file bankruptcy depends on how long ago you deposited the funds in the account.

  • If you deposited the funds more than two years before your bankruptcy, the funds are protected.

  • If you deposited the funds 1-2 years before you filed bankruptcy, they're partially protected. The first $6,425 of these funds are protected, but anything above that amount isn't protected.

  • If you deposited funds less than one year before you filed bankruptcy, they aren't protected.

For any unprotected funds listed above, you may still be able to keep some or all of them if your state provides an exemption that you can use to protect them.

Do I Need To List My Child's 529 Savings Account Even Though I'm Just the Signer?

When it comes to 529 plans, there are account owners and account beneficiaries. If you set up the 529 plan for your child, you're the owner and your child is the beneficiary. Unless someone other than you set up the account and is the account's owner, you have to list your child's 529 plan on your bankruptcy forms

Written By:

Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad


Kristin is a recipient of Harvard Law School’s Public Welfare Foundation A2J Tech Fellowship. At Harvard Law, she served as a member of the Harvard Defenders, the Women’s Law Association, and the Harvard Law Negotiation Review. She was the 2016 – 2017 president of the Harvard Bla... read more about Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad

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