How to Name a Trust as Successor Beneficiary of an Inherited IRA

by Kay Lee
Proper estate planning will allow you to enjoy your retirement and can extend benefits to your descendants as well.

Proper estate planning will allow you to enjoy your retirement and can extend benefits to your descendants as well.

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When someone creates an Individual Retirement Account, she names a beneficiary to inherit whatever remains in the account at her death. Depending on the IRA plan document or the rules of the custodian, the IRA owner or the IRA owner's beneficiary may be able to name a successor beneficiary for any remaining account balance at the primary beneficiary's death. This can be an individual or individuals, the decedent's estate or a trust. One advantage to naming a trust as successor beneficiary is control over how and when distributed assets will be paid out to heirs. For example, if, as a primary beneficiary, you want your child to receive your undistributed IRA inheritance, but don't want her to have access to those funds until age 21, the IRA account will be distributed to the trust based on IRS distribution rules, however, the trust document will specify that the trustee should not distribute those funds to your child until she reaches age 21.

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Step 1

Create a trust, if the trust you want to name as a successor beneficiary has not already been created. Given that trusts are complex legal instruments, you should consult with an estate planning attorney in order to ensure that the trust meets all state and federal laws and is designed to distribute funds in the way you wish.

Step 2

Contact the custodian for your IRA to obtain the forms necessary to change beneficiaries.

Step 3

Execute the beneficiary change forms and include all requested information on the forms and return them to your IRA custodian.

Step 4

Provide a copy of the trust document to your IRA custodian with the beneficiary change forms, so the custodian will have the information necessary to distribute IRA funds from your trust according to your wishes.