Funding Your Educational Trust in Estate Planning

For parents who want to provide for their children’s education, setting up an educational trust can be an excellent way to ensure that their children will have the funds they need to attend college or graduate school. But how exactly does funding an educational trust work? Let’s take a closer look.


What is an Educational Trust?


An educational trust is a type of trust that is set up to provide funds for a beneficiary’s education. The trust is typically established by a parent or grandparent for the benefit of a child or grandchild. The trustee of the educational trust manages the assets in the trust and distributes the funds according to the terms of the trust.


Funding an Educational Trust


There are a few different ways that an educational trust can be funded. Here are some of the most common methods:

Cash: The simplest way to fund an educational trust is to contribute cash to the trust. This can be done either through a lump sum contribution or through regular contributions over time.

Securities: You can also fund an educational trust with securities such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. This can be a good option if you have appreciated securities that you want to transfer to the trust without incurring capital gains taxes.

Life Insurance: Another way to fund an educational trust is to purchase a life insurance policy and name the trust as the beneficiary. When you pass away, the death benefit from the life insurance policy will be paid out to the trust, which can then use the funds to provide for the beneficiary’s education.

Real Estate: If you own real estate, you can transfer ownership of the property to the educational trust. The trustee can then sell the property and use the proceeds to fund the trust.


Choosing the Right Funding Strategy


When it comes to funding an educational trust, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The right strategy for you will depend on your individual circumstances and goals. Here are a few factors to consider:

Your Tax Situation: Depending on your tax situation, certain funding strategies may be more advantageous than others. For example, if you have appreciated securities, funding the trust with these assets can help you avoid capital gains taxes.

Your Financial Goals: Your financial goals will also play a role in determining the best funding strategy for your educational trust. If you want to maximize the amount of money in the trust, you may want to consider funding it with cash or securities. On the other hand, if you want to minimize your estate tax liability, funding the trust with life insurance may be the way to go.

Your Time Horizon: Finally, consider your time horizon when choosing a funding strategy. If you have several years before the beneficiary will need the funds, investing in securities may be a good option. If, on the other hand, the beneficiary will need the funds in the near future, cash or life insurance may be a better choice.




Funding an educational trust is an important part of estate planning for parents who want to provide for their children’s education. By understanding the different funding strategies available, you can choose the approach that is best suited to your individual circumstances and goals. Learn about other strategies to pay for your child or grandchild’s education, in our previous blog post. Lastly, meeting with a qualified estate planning attorney can help you navigate this process and ensure that your educational trust is set up in a way that meets your needs.

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Estate Planning

Alexander S. Keenan, Esq.
Alexander S. Keenan, Esq.
Hi, I'm Alex. I consider myself an approachable attorney. I have called the beautiful Hudson Valley home for most of my life. After focusing on things like international commercial law and litigation, I took a step back and pivoted towards helping my community plan for life's greatest moments. My firm specializes in estate planning, small business law, and real estate law.