529 savings plans are sponsored by individual states and generally managed and marketed by private financial firms. They offer tax-deferred growth and any distributions used for qualified education expenses — tuition, fees, books, room and board — are federal income tax-free.
Account holders of 529 plans can remove significant assets from their taxable estate without relinquishing control of those assets, and can change the beneficiary at any time. Parents, grandparents and other loved ones will also be able to make five years of gift contributions at once — up to $70,000 per beneficiary, or $140,000 per beneficiary if married filing jointly, without incurring a federal gift tax. And, 529 plans have high contribution limits — with John Hancock Freedom 529, the contribution limit is $320,000 per beneficiary.