If you have a section 529 plan for college education, you might be worried about what happens to your money if your child doesn’t go to college. One option is to change the beneficiary on the account. According to IRS Publication 970 (pp. 62-3), a beneficiary can be changed to another member of the beneficiary’s family, and the IRS broadly defines “family” as the beneficiary’s spouse, as well as the following individuals:


  1. Son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, adopted child, or a descendant of any of them.
  1. Brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister.
  1. Father or mother or ancestor of either.
  1. Stepfather or stepmother.
  1. Son or daughter of a brother or sister.
  1. Brother or sister of father or mother.
  1. Son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.
  1. The spouse of any individual listed above.
  1. First cousin.