Inheriting an IRA from Uncle Ira

Estate planning involving inherited Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) can be tricky. Inherited IRAs are different from other IRAs. Only an IRA inherited from a spouse can be rolled into your own IRA. Also, IRAs inherited from different people can not be consolidated into one account.

If you take assets from an inherited IRA and deposited them in your own IRA, all of those inherited IRA assets will be taxable. In addition, you will have to remove any assets you deposited from the inherited IRA which are above your allowed IRA contribution for the year ($5500 if you are under age 50 or $6500 if you are 50 or older) or you will incur further penalties.

It is important to get the titling correct not only on your statements from the IRA custodian, but also on the records your IRA custodian provides to the IRS.

The advantage to retitling the inherited IRA is that you can extend withdrawals from the IRA the length of your lifetime instead of having to withdraw the assets sooner. With an inherited IRA you must make withdrawals every year by December 31th beginning the year after the original owner’s death.

If you are not happy with the original custodian or investment, you can use a trustee-to-trustee transfer to move the IRA account to another financial institution provided the current IRA custodian allows it.

For guidance regarding IRA accounts and estate planning, contact a law firm that handles estate planning matters.