I have a 13 and 15 year old. The each have $60,000 in mutual funds from grandfather. I show little income, but have 2 investment properties worth $1 million besides my house that is worth $625,000. Can anything be done to gain financial aid, ie moving assets to trusts, or at least the kid's and emancipating them in some fasion?
If your children have $60,000 each in mutual funds these assets will be counted towards the calculations colleges will make in awarding financial aid. Your investment properties should each be owned by a separate limited liability company for asset protection reasons (a tenant suing on a property should not reach all your personal assets, such as your house). You could, in order to minimize estate taxes etc. form a master or holding company LLC which could become a family investment vehicle. That master LLC could own the two LLCs that own the investment properties. This might be a great plan unrelated to the financial aid issue. Your kids could contribute their mutual funds to the master holding. If you're married and you divided your 1/2 interest with your wife, your kids contributions would reduce each of you and your wife's ownership to less than 50% which would have beneficial estate tax, state estate tax (if applicable) and other consequences. The bottom line from a financial aid perspective is that your kids would now own non-liquid non-controling interests in a family business. This might be counted as far less valuable for financial aid purposes (what is the value of their interest? Arguably a lot less than $60,000). Your kids are young. The rules may change many times before they apply.
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