IRA beneficiary form | Ed Slott and Company, LLC

IRA beneficiary form

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.

Marriage and Your Retirement Account

Marriage changes a lot of things. Some things are not quite as obvious as others. We walk you through the key changes to your IRAs, Roth IRAs and overall retirement planning.

The Deceased Don't Make Good IRA Beneficiaries

Almost all IRA owners named their IRA beneficiary when they first opened the account. In many cases, it was their spouse or parent. However, disaster can strike if that primary beneficiary dies before you do and you don't update the IRA beneficiary form. This horror story provides a valuable lesson.

Should I Keep All IRAs Separate?

This week's Slott Report Mailbag looks at combining IRA monies into one big IRA, how 401(k)s affect calculating yearly IRA distributions and whether leaving equal IRA shares to your three children is possible. Click to read this week's Q&A with our IRA Technical Expert.

Slott Report Mailbag: Does The Once-Per-Year-Rollover-Rule Apply to Distributions From 401(k)s?

This week's Slott Report Mailbag gets into the Roth IRA 5-year rules - as well as the once-per-year-rollover-rule and disclaimer planning. These topics showcase the depth of IRA distribution and retirement planning and the intricacies, detail and potential danger involved in this area.

IRAs and Wills Don't Mix

A Will is a legal document under state law where you name a person to manage your estate and divide your property after you die. Property in your estate must pass through “probate”, which is the process under your state’s law of how your estate is administered and who gets your property. Ideally, you should have a Will. If you don’t, then state law will decide who gets your property after you die. That might not be what you want, so it’s better for you to decide who gets what by having your own Will.

Who Gets Your IRA?

Do you have a will, a trust, and retirement accounts? Who will get your retirement assets? Let’s say that your will says that everything goes to your spouse, your trust says that everything goes to your children, and the beneficiary form for your IRA says that everything goes to your spouse and your children equally. Who gets your IRA? These answers and more below.

Locating Your Missing IRA Beneficiary Form

We have written many times on the importance of completing and filing a designated beneficiary form for all of your IRAs. If no designated beneficiary form is filed with your IRA custodian, or if one cannot be located, the identity of your beneficiary will be governed by default language contained in the IRA agreement, if any. Leaving to chance what may be the most critical aspect of your family’s financial future is not a smart planning move.

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