Monthly Archives: December 2011

Proceed With Caution on Inherited IRA’s

Parents and grandparents who saved and invested in retirement accounts should take special care to make sure their children and grandchildren receive the most benefit from their inheritance.  A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted some of the complex rules surrounding the inheritance of IRAs. 

Client regularly ask whether they should liquidate an IRA.   Rather than taking a lump sum distribution, and paying the accompanying taxes, clients will often derive the most tax-efficient results by transferring the assets into an inherited IRA.  An inherited IRA allows a young beneficiary to spread distributions across his or her longer life expectancy.  Simply taking small, annual distributions can allow the IRA to grow while minimizing the tax burden borne by the recipient of the inherited account.

Individuals should be wary of receiving any funds in their name. Clients looking to move the account from one brokerage account to another should do a direct “trustee to trustee” exchange.  Otherwise, the IRS deems the transfer as a total distribution which is subject to tax.

As with most financial planning decisions, you should consult with tax and investment professionals before jeopardizing potential tax advantages.

“Et In Arcadia Ego…”

Our celebration of Thanksgiving is past and now the time of year is upon us in which most people busy themselves with preparations for Christmas. The “holiday season” is a busy and stressful time of year, and this is perhaps a factor in the higher number of deaths that occur this time of year. I sometimes wonder what would happen if people put as much time into planning for their passing as they put into Christmas preparations each year.

We see many different situations in our office. Some folks call about estate planning literally from their deathbeds. Some die before the documents are prepared; others sign everything in the nick of time. Many people think there will be plenty of time in the future to take care of estate planning. Some people are afraid that if they form a trust or execute a will, it means they will die—so they put it off.

The reality is that we will all die, ready or not. It makes a lot more sense to have an estate plan in place so that the administration and distribution of your possessions will be orderly upon your death. It is especially critical if you wish to leave anything to charity, or in unequal shares to your children, or the like. Also, for those who do not have relatives in Nevada, it is important to designate who will act as executor or personal representative; non-residents are not qualified unless they are designated in a will, or associate with a resident.

If you have been procrastinating your estate planning, or updating your estate planning, I encourage you to make an appointment with a qualified estate-planning attorney.

By: Sharon M. Parker, Esq.