You have a number of choices when it comes to selecting a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) for your IRA. Some are appropriate. Some are mistakes and can lead to delays and expenses in getting the funds to your desired recipients. Some may even exclude some of your desired beneficiaries. In addition,Guest Posting some elections are for estate planning purposes. Let’s take a look at your options.
Not recommended. This mandates your IRA be distributed according to your will, if you have one. If you don’t, each state has “intestate” rules that divide your estate up in ways you wouldn’t ever want.
An IRA with no beneficiary must be distributed within five years. By contrast, a named beneficiary can spread the distribution out over the balance of their life expectancy.
Naming your estate as the beneficiary is the same as not naming one. The rules require a “named” beneficiary. Now your IRA goes through the probate process. This costs money, takes time and subjects your IRA to your creditors.
Why should you pay money to be represented by an attorney and have a https://investingold.blob.core.windows.net/canitakephysicalgold/can-i-take-physical-possession-of-gold-in-my-ira.html judge in some probate court decide whom your beneficiary will be? Why should your beneficiaries have to wait around for your estate to be closed? What if your will is challenged? What if you have a big estate with estate taxes due and the IRS is questioning the valuation of your business? I have seen estates open for as long as ten years as the debate goes back and forth between your attorney and the IRS. The worst case I can think of is your IRA completely eaten up by legal fees inasmuch it may be the only liquid asset.
This is the most common designation and makes the most sense for a number of reasons.
If the spouse is the sole beneficiary, he or she can elect to treat the IRA as his or her own. This opens up the possibility of delaying the start of the required minimum distributions (RMDs). This could be the spouse’s age 70 1/2, or for a Roth IRA, all the way to the death of the spouse. It also allows further “stretching” of the IRA as the spouse can spread the RMDs over their lifetime plus the lifetime of a beneficiary.
If the spouse is more than 10 years younger than a non-Roth IRA owner, their life expectancy can be used. Beneficiaries other than the spouse, who are more than ten years younger than the IRA owner, are treated as being no more than ten years younger for RMD purposes. This is another “stretching” advantage for naming the spouse as beneficiary.
If children are beneficiaries, they can take the RMDs over their life expectancy. Since the RMDs are very low at the younger ages, the account can grow substantially over the years. For example, a $100,000 IRA could distribute literally millions of dollars over the lifetime of a young beneficiary.
If there is more than one child named, the youngest age is used for RMD purposes. However, if the children are beneficiaries of a trust, the oldest age is used.