March 8, 2017

ABLE United Key Question Series: Who Can Manage the ABLE Account?

ABLE United Key Question Series: Who Can Manage the ABLE Account?

Previous posts in the ABLE United Key Question Series include: “What is an ABLE United account?”, “Qualified vs. Non-Qualified Expenses” and “Can I rollover a 529 college savings account?“.  Another commonly asked question is:

Who can manage the ABLE account?

In short, the beneficiary can manage their own account if they are of legal age and capable of handling this responsibility; however, if the beneficiary is not able to do this or is still a minor, the parent/legal guardian can act as the administrator.

During the creation of the ABLE Act, many expressed concern that an individual with a disability might not have the competency to establish or manage their account. The Treasury Department and the IRS recognized this concern and, in their proposed rule, [1] they state, “Therefore, the proposed regulations clarify that, if the eligible individual cannot establish the account, the eligible individual’s agent under a power of attorney or, if none, his or her parent or legal guardian may establish the ABLE account for that eligible individual.”

For ABLE United, the person managing the account is considered the administrator [2] and can be the individual with a disability or someone legally authorized to act on behalf of the beneficiary as mentioned. The beneficiary may still exercise the rights of the account even if someone else is serving as the administrator. If the administrator is not the beneficiary, they may neither have, nor acquire, any beneficial interest in the account during the beneficiary’s lifetime.

It is important to remember, regardless of who is administering the account, the funds in the account belong to the individual with a disability and funds should be used to help improve their health, independence, or quality of life.

Check back soon as we continue our ABLE United key question series.

Cited Resources:
[1] https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/06/22/2015-15280/guidance-under-section-529a-qualified-able-programs#h-19
[2] ABLE United Program Description and Participation Agreement, pg. 4