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I have 3 children, ages 13, 11, and 8. All will be going to college. My AGI will be around 95K this
year. I have stocks invested that I inted to use for their college expenses. Are there significant tax
benefits in setting up a college IRA or giving them each a set amount ($2,000) which is in turn
invested in a mutual fund for them?

The main problem with the educational IRA in your case is the age of the kids. You are allowed to put away $500 a year it is not deductible, the gains from that money are the only tax savings. The downfall being you cannot take the lifetime learning credit or hope scholarship credit the same year you use and educational ira. These may be a much better benefit. It may pay to play with the numbers some, since I don't know the return you are expecting, and your projection AGI at that time.

You can give them each $2000 in a unified transfer to minors act account. Any capital gains and interest would be sheltered up to $700 per child and then it would be taxed at the childs lower rate until i believe $1300 (no books right now). The downfall would be financial aid counts a greater portion of the savings in the childs name to go for tuition than they would an adults. It would legally be the childs money when they came of age to spend as they wished.
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