General Rules For Most States
UTMA accounts generally are very uniform across all states. Although the law was passed on a federal level in 1986, it let the states themselves choose what to do with the interpretation of the information. This is usually the case with most legislation, as the federal government rarely wishes to impose a nationwide law that can not be in everyone's best interest. While in most cases this is extremely helpful, in other more extreme cases it is not. Controversial topics such as healthcare and other financial-related matters can sometimes pose an issue.
Nevertheless, the UTMA has been properly adopted by most states and allows the person creating the account to transfer over property and/or assets when the minor turns of age. In most states, this is usually 18 or 21, but can sometimes even be vested until the age of 25. Alaska, Arkansas, California, Washington DC, Kentucky, and Maine are some of the states that allow UTMA accounts to be chosen for payout between the ages of 18-21. California and Nevada are an exception, as they allow the range to be 18 to 25.
Kentucky and South Dakota are also of note, as they only allow the transfer to be done at the age of 18. All property is then transferred from the UTMA account to the person who has reached the age of majority.
Florida bumps the age range up to 21, but the rules of the UTMA are completely different. While the age range is 21-25, the person that is transferring the assets must forfeit the property over to the UTMA beneficiary within a month of request after turning the age of 21. This means that a custodian can choose the UTMA to be paid out at, say, 23 years of age. If the beneficiary then formally asks the custodian to forfeit the holdings on their 21st birthday, the custodian cannot refuse this request.
Virginia does not allow age ranges. They have stipulated payouts that occur either on the person's 18th, 21st, or 25th birthday. Some consider this to be better, as the system clearly defines when the payout will occur and does not leave room for guessing. In most cases, the custodian may choose to hand over financial assets at the age of 21, as it is assumed that the beneficiary will have matured greatly at this time, and may need access to the funds for educational or career purposes.
South Carolina is the only state to not have ratified this rule, and you are unable to set up UTMA accounts. Although this may seem like an impediment, UGMA accounts are still able to be opened in South Carolina and are still one of the preferred methods in other states. A UGMA is sometimes better in most cases, as more assets can be stored within the account, in contrast to the class restrictions in a UTMA account. Furthermore, UGMA usually has a lower age range to go into effect, with the most common being 18 years.