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Should I put an IRA in a living trust?

3 answers | Last updated: Mar 12, 2015
An anonymous caregiver asked...

is it a good idea to put your IRA in a revocable living trust? If not, why not?


Caring.com User - Steve Weisman
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Steve Weisman answered...

There are a lot of good reasons to combine your IRA and living revocable trust, but the process can be complicated so it's important to work with an attorney or See also:
Who pays taxes after receiving money from trust?
other estate planning professional to make it is done correctly.

in general, a living revocable trust is a good way to avoid probate and its attendant delays and costs. It also is a good way to provide for family members when you do not want them to receive inheritances in a lump sum, but rather have the money managed for them professionally and distributed as you determine when you set up the trust. You also can provide for the trustee to have tremendous discretion in the making of distributions to the beneficiaries of the trust. A living revocable trust is quite flexible and can readily be adapted to your own family's particular needs and situation. In addition, because it is revocable, you can change it throughout your lifetime.

The most effective way to combine an IRA and a revocable trust is to designate the trust as the beneficiary of the IRA at your death. The rules for doing this are quite precise, but an experienced estate planning lawyer will be able to do this for you. Inherited IRAs provide a great opportunity for the continuance of income tax deferral or, in the case of a Roth IRA, the continuance of tax-free growth over the lifetime of the person inheriting the IRA. One thing to keep in mind: in order to maximize the tax savings, if more than one person will inherit the IRA, you should set up an individual trust for each beneficiary.


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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Correct. You should NOT move an IRA into a living trust while you are alive as you will incur taxes on it. Rather, name the trust as the beneficiary of the IRA.