I purchased three pre-paid college tuition plans in the mid-90s for my three sons. Two of the plans have been used up. The last communication I had from the two affected sons was when each one wrote immediately following his graduation from high school to ask me to activate the plan for his benefit, which I did. Each plan pays 100% of the tuition and fees for all four years at any state school. (It would have been nice if they would have invited me to their graduations but hey, these boys were raised by their mother to apparently be just like her.)
My oldest son has not communicated with me since the day Peyton Manning was named Super Bowl MVP. My plan for which he is beneficiary sits unused. I have been told that pursuant to IRS rules, these tax-preferential plans have a 10-year shelf life and this plan will be voided next year, absent extraordinary circumstances. I have notified the Virginia Plan Board that the extraordinary circumstances for my plan are a court order, as noted in the letter below. The board scoffs at a mere county-court order. So it goes. Below is the letter I mailed to the Virginia Board today.
March 17, 2013
Virginia 529 College Savings Plan
9001 Arboretum Parkway
Richmond, VA 23236
Dear VA527 Program Benefits,
I am in receipt of a form letter from you dated 3/5/13, referencing the plan I own which has "James B. Lamberton" as Beneficiary. The Beneficiary of this plan that I own is my oldest child.
In it you state that according to your records for account number [***], "the beneficiary listed above may soon begin preparing to attend college." You also enclosed an Intent to Enroll Form, which you state that I "and the beneficiary will be required to sign and return to [you] by May 20, 2013 in order to initiate the use of" my contract benefits. As I am in possession of no information whatsoever that my plan’s beneficiary "may soon begin preparing to attend college," I will not be signing and returning the stated form to you at this time.
Please be advised that pursuant to the "Final Decree Of Divorce A Vinculo Matrimoni Equitable Distribution And Permanent Support" ("ED Order") issued by the Circuit Court of Arlington in Sharon R. Lamberton v. Peter W. Lamberton, Chancery No. 01-311 on 11/1/02 (A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED FOR YOUR NOTIFICATION):
Husband is found to be the owner of three fully paid for Virginia Pre-Paid Tuition Plans (VPP), being one for the education of each of the parties’ three children, and insofar as their disposition may remain under his control, he is ordered to maintain them in their present state pending the possible use of these funds by the children for the acquisition of a college education pursuant to the terms of the Plans.
You are hereby notified that pursuant to the above authority, you must maintain indefinitely the VPP Plan which I own of which James B. Lamberton is the Beneficiary, until he chooses to use its benefits.
As I have had no communication from my oldest son James in over six years despite my best efforts to contact him, and am in possession of no reliable information about his current intentions regarding the use of my Plan’s benefits, anything less than personal knowledge on my part that my Plan will be used pursuant to its terms by the proper person will be insufficient for me to sign and return an Intent to Enroll Form to you by any date.
You are on notice that you may not terminate the Plan nor change it in any aspect. Thank you.
Peter W. Lamberton