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beneficiary form

10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

It is important to do your due diligence when hiring anyone who claims to be an expert. The same holds true for financial professionals. Before dumping your entire piggy bank in the lap of a random advisor, be sure he or she has the skills and experience necessary to manage such a responsibility. Regarding IRAs, here are 10 good questions to ask your advisor:

“Update Needed” – Top 5 IRA Items to Consider

We are constantly bombarded with requests to update our information. “Password needs updating.” “Software update for your mobile device.” “Please update your email so our marketing team can continue to fill your inbox with spam.” It is never ending. Most of these update requests are trash. An automatic delete. However, some updates are vitally important and demand our attention. Regarding retirement accounts and IRAs, here is a countdown of five critical items that should be considered, reviewed and updated immediately:

Update Your Beneficiary Forms!

Regardless of whether you open an IRA, participate in a 401(k) plan, buy a life insurance policy, or start a college saving plan for a child, there is a critical detail which should never be overlooked: naming a beneficiary. Typically, the account application will include a space for doing just that. Sometimes a second form may be required when a person wants to change an existing beneficiary.

Beneficiary Form Basics

An argument could be made that the easiest financial document to complete is the IRA beneficiary form. Yet somehow this basic information consistently gets overlooked, mishandled, lost or fouled up. It’s not rocket science. Don’t complicate things. Keep it simple if you can. Case in point: an attorney drafted a fancy addendum to a beneficiary form with all the necessary legalese and important letterhead and flourishing signatures.

Stuck with the Five-Year Rule? Think Again

If you inherit an IRA, especially if it is a larger one, you may be afraid of being stuck with the five-year distribution rule. If this rule applies, your IRA must be entirely emptied in five years which can be a serious tax hit. Fortunately, you are much less likely to be stuck with the five-year rule than you may think.

Is Your IRA Haunted?

It’s Halloween season! This is the time for ghosts, witches, and trick or treating. What does Halloween have to do with your IRA? You might be surprised to hear that your IRA may be haunted. How can that be? Believe it or not, actions you take, or don’t take, can haunt your beneficiaries for years down the road.

Inherited IRAs – When do RMDs Begin?

We are frequently asked when required minimum distributions (RMDs) begin when an individual inherits an IRA. As with most things related to IRAs, the answer is, it depends.

A Tale of 3 Cousins and Their Inherited 401(k) Plans

This is the story of Al, Bob and Carl. Each cousin is the non-spouse beneficiary of his father’s 401(k) plan. Their fathers worked together at the local automotive factory for their entire lives and were all covered by the same plan. The default distribution option in the plan for non-spouse beneficiaries is a five-year payout.

Options for a Spouse Beneficiary – Remain a Beneficiary or Retitle to Your Own Account?

Warning! The options described here are for spouse beneficiaries named on the beneficiary forms of IRA accounts. Non-spouse beneficiaries and spouses who inherit through an estate have a different sets of rules.

Inherited an IRA with Missed RMDs? This Week’s Q&A

This week's Slott Report Mailbag looks into missed RMDs, inherited IRAs, and QDROs.

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