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6. Failing to coordinate the 529 withdrawal with other family members. 

Sometimes a child will be the beneficiary of multiple 529 accounts that have different account owners—not just parents, but grandparents and other relatives and friends as well. When it comes time to pay for Junior’s college expenses, whose account is used first?

If at all possible, do not leave this question to the last minute. Family members should be speaking to the parents and discussing how best to use their 529 accounts to help pay for Junior’s college expenses. In some situations, the best solution is for the family members to request that ownership of their 529 accounts be transferred to the parents so that withdrawals can be easily controlled and coordinated. Not all 529 plans accept requests to change ownership so first check with your plan.

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Saving For College is an unbiased, independent resource for parents and financial professionals, providing them with information and tools to understand the benefits of 529 college savings plans and how to meet the challenge of increasing college costs.