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Elder law: Can a trust act as beneficiary for IRA?

Having a retirement account can be a beneficial financial tool, especially later in life. Of course, there is a chance that an individual may not reach a point in life where he or she is able to use the entirety of that account. This point is why there is considerable importance in naming a beneficiary to such an account, and individuals may have questions for elder law attorneys regarding this step.

Some Louisiana residents may wonder whether a beneficiary could be another account rather than a person. For instance, many parties may wish to name a trust as beneficiary in hopes of protecting their retirement funds. While this action could potentially be an option for certain individuals, it is important to understand the potential ramifications. 

First, individuals need to determine whether the terms of the account allow for a trust to be named as beneficiary. If it does not, this option is not feasible. Additionally, parties may want to determine how naming a trust could possibly affect IRA benefits, such as long-term distributions. Furthermore, when naming a trust, the trustee becomes in charge of the funds. Depending on the trustee, the effects could vary. 

Retirement accounts and trusts are often important to individuals' finances and estate plans. Therefore, ensuring that decisions made regarding those accounts are beneficial may help avoid unnecessary issues. Louisiana residents who are concerned about using estate planning to protect their retirement accounts may wish to consult with experienced elder law attorneys who could prove information on plausible options.

Source:, "Steven Merrell, Financial Planning: Strange bedfellows: Trusts as IRA beneficiaries", Steven Merrell, April 13, 2017

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