IRAs make up a significant portion of many individuals’ financial assets. If you have sizeable IRAs, it is important to periodically review whom you designated as the beneficiary for these accounts and whether it is time for a change. Many who are considering divorce, or were recently divorced, want to remove their spouse as their designated IRA beneficiary. When making this switch, it would be wise to thoughtfully consider the options and work to steer clear of potential problems. For example, individuals with children often wish to designate their children as the beneficiary for their IRA. They should consider whether their children are sufficiently mature to manage these resources wisely. Many young adults who obtain unlimited access to funds yield to the temptation to cash out the account (despite the tax penalties involved) and spend the funds quickly. Even if the owner of the IRA is confident that their proposed beneficiary will be fiscally prudent, it would also be wise for the account holder to consider the possibility that either the account holder or the beneficiary may suffer a disability that leaves them unable to manage the account.
During a recent meeting of the DeKalb Bar Association Family Section, Lisa Lubar, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst with Merrill Lynch, encouraged Georgia Lord and other divorce attorneys serving Decatur residents to discuss such possible changes in designated IRA beneficiaries with our clients, so that our clients can consider what new arrangement best meets their needs. Lisa suggested that a Trusteed IRA can be very helpful in many situations. A Trusteed IRA can provide the tax benefits of an IRA while avoiding the stringent limitations placed upon the authority of IRA custodians. A Trusteed IRA can be used to enable the owner of the IRA to exercise greater authority over how the funds are disbursed to beneficiaries than the owner would have with a “regular” IRA account. Further information regarding Trusteed IRAs can be found by downloading a document from This Link
Of course, this is general information that is intended to simply suggest an option to explore further. Each individual’s situation differs, and there is no substitute for individualized advice from qualified financial planning professionals