Uniform Acts Uniform Transfers to Minors Act Law and Legal Definition

The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA), superseded by the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) in some states, is simply a way for a minor to own property, such as securities. Generally, any adult may act as a custodian of such an account, including a parent or guardian.

The UGMA/UTMA setup is commonly used to give monies to a minor. IRS regulations allows a person to give many thousands of dollars per year to any other person with no tax consequences. If the recipient is a minor, the UGMA provides a way for the minor to own the assets without involving an attorney to establish a special trust. When giving assets to a minor using a UGMA/UTMA, the donor must appoint a custodian (the trustee).

An UGMA/UTMA is a trust like any other trust except that the terms of the trust are set in the state statute instead of being drawn up in a trust document. Should a trustee fail to comply with the terms of the UGMA/UTMA, this would expose the trustee to the same actions as a trustee who fails to comply with the terms of a special drawn-up trust.