How to Add a Successor Participant on Your 529 College Savings Plan
It's important to name a successor participant so your beneficiary (student) continues to reap the rewards of your savings and to ensure your plan is properly managed in the event of your death.
What is a successor participant?
A successor participant on your 529 account is the person or entity who will manage the account for your beneficiary (the student you're saving for) in the event of your death. It's important to assign someone this role so your heirs can avoid probate. Also it's critical to choose someone you trust since your successor will have full control over the account, including the right to change the beneficiary or take out a nonqualified withdrawal.
What do I need to know?
You can add a new successor participant by entering his or her information online, copying an existing successor participant from another account, or by completing a form and mailing it to us.
To complete this update online:
- From your Portfolio Summary, select Accounts & Trade, and then select Profile and Beneficiaries
- On the Successor Participants tab, locate your 529 account (listed as an Individual, TODI, or under a nickname you've chosen)
- Select Update Successor Participants; if you're not copying the information from another 529 plan, you'll need the name and date of birth of your successor participant (their Social Security number is optional)
- If your successor participant is an individual—not an entity—they must be a U.S. resident, maintain a U.S. legal mailing address, and be at least 18 years old
- In the event of your death, your beneficiary—the student you are saving for—does not change unless your successor participant chooses to make this change
- After you've selected a primary successor participant, this designation usually overrides a will and avoids probate
Note: You're permitted only one primary successor participant per each 529 account. However, you can add a contingent successor participant to ensure, in the unlikely event that both you and your successor participant die, the account goes to your contingent successor participant.
You can also choose to make this update by downloading the College Investing Plan Successor Designation Form (PDF). Please send your completed form to:
Fidelity Investments College Plan Service Center
PO Box 770001
Cincinnati, OH 45277-0015
What to expect
After you've completed the online steps and confirmed your information, your new successor participant is updated immediately on your account.
If you've chosen to mail the form, we'll update your successor participant in 3 business days.
You'll either receive an email confirmation in 1–2 business days or a mailed confirmation in 3–5 business days (depending on your delivery preferences).
If you have any questions, please call a 529 college savings representative at 800-544-1914.
Frequently asked questions
What's the difference between a beneficiary and a successor participant?
The beneficiary on your 529 college savings plan is the student for whom you are saving. Your account is for his or her benefit. Your successor participant oversees the plan for your beneficiary in the event of your death.
How do I change the beneficiary on my plan?
If your designated beneficiary (student) decides not to attend college, you can change the beneficiary on your plan. However, the new beneficiary must be an eligible family member of the original beneficiary to avoid federal income taxes and the 10% federal penalty.
- Where can I add beneficiaries on my accounts that aren't 529 college savings plans?