Benefits of an IRA Trust

If you have assets valued at $100,000 or more in an IRA or retirement account, then you should consider setting up a special type of trust that’s designed to be the beneficiary of your IRA for the following reasons:

Stretch IRAs – Creating a Legacy for Your Family

If your IRA is left directly to your beneficiaries outside of a trust, then your beneficiaries can immediately cash out your IRA and spend the money as they see fit. In such case, then not only is a stretch out of the required minimum distributions, or RMDs, over the beneficiary’s remaining life expectancy lost, but 100% of the amount withdrawn will be included in the beneficiary’s taxable income in the year of withdrawal.

A different type of problem can be created if you name your minor grandchild as the direct beneficiary of your IRA. If this is the case, then a guardianship or conservatorship will need to be established to manage the IRA for the benefit of the grandchild until he or she reaches the age of 18. Then, once the grandchild reaches 18, he or she can withdraw 100% of what’s left in the IRA.

Instead, if your IRA passes to your beneficiaries through an IRA Trust, then you can put restrictions on how your IRA is spent and when and how much the beneficiary can withdraw. This can create an ongoing legacy for your family since the IRA assets that are not used during a beneficiary’s lifetime can continue in trust for the benefit of the beneficiary’s descendants. This can also be important if the beneficiary already has a taxable estate since the IRA Trust can be drafted to minimize or even eliminate estate taxes in the beneficiary’s own estate.

An IRA Trust can also be used to guarantee that the RMDs are stretched out over the entire lifetime of each of your beneficiaries, thereby preserving assets left in the IRA for the benefit of future generations and deferring income taxes.

Providing Asset Protection for Your Beneficiaries

In many states IRAs are protected by applicable state laws from the claims of creditors with regard to the IRA account owner. However, once the IRA account owner dies and the IRA assets get into the hands of an individual beneficiary, the IRA assets will lose their protected status.

On the other hand, IRA assets passing into a trust created for the benefit of an individual beneficiary under the terms of an IRA Trust will continue to be protected. This will insure that the IRA assets will remain intact for the benefit of the beneficiary in the event a lawsuit is filed against the beneficiary, if a married beneficiary later divorces, or if a single beneficiary gets married and later divorces.