Andrew Sykes presents "12 Cool IRA Protection Strategies" to Pittsburgh area financial advisors on October 17, 2013

Andrew Sykes presents “12 Cool IRA Protection Strategies” to Pittsburgh area financial advisors on October 17, 2013

Qualified retirement plans, like IRAs, can have superior advantages when left to a loved one. Chief among those advantages is the ability to “stretch” distributions, which can double or triple the lifetime value to the beneficiaries.

But your plan to leave retirement assets to your beneficiaries may get tripped up in various ways. Here are a few:

Rapid depletion. Rather than carefully stretching distributions over allowable life expectancy, the beneficiary may take down all the money much sooner (perhaps right away). Rapid depletion will foreclose long-term tax deferral, and could very well mean the beneficiary pays more in taxes on the amount distributed. Early depletion can also diminish the chances that proceeds from the inherited IRA will benefit grandchildren or other heirs.

Divorce. Depending on state law, some portion of the distributions could be lost to former in-laws if a beneficiary divorces. (The “lifelong probability of a marriage ending in divorce is 40%-50%,” according to statistics cited in Wikipedia.)

Creditors. Creditors may be able to reach inherited IRAs. A ruling earlier this year in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that inherited IRAs do not fit the Bankruptcy Code’s exemption for “retirement funds.” Other appeals courts have held the opposite. But unless the Supreme Court overrules the Seventh Circuit’s ruling, creditor protection for inherited IRAs will depend on where your beneficiaries happen to live.

A well drafted IRA trust can mitigate the effects of these pitfalls by controlling how and when distributions are taken from the trust, and providing an additional layer of protection from the effects of divorce, creditors, and other unexpected occurrences.


Free Estate Planning Workshop

Upcoming Workshops

August 7, 2018 – 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
August 23, 2018 – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Learn More

Related Posts

What is Power of Attorney (and Why Have One)?

What is Power of Attorney (and Why Have One)?

If you need some clarity on what exactly a "durable power of attorney" is, and why it's important to have one, watch the short video below. Here I give you my thoughts on what can happen if you don't have power of attorney, and why it makes sense to have one prepared...

Who has capacity to make a will?

Who has capacity to make a will?

Fundamental to the validity of any last will and testament is that the testator (person whose will it is, and who is signing the documents) had capacity at the time of execution. By statute, a testator in Pennsylvania must be “of sound mind” to make a will. (20 Pa....

Share This