Estate planning can be as complicated as you want them to be, but in many cases, you could benefit from setting up a meeting with an attorney to discuss your options. An estate planning attorney can help you accomplish multiple goals, and if you have the desire to protect your assets as well as possible, this can often be achieved with several different methods.
Imagine, for example, that you have a substantial IRA set aside. You might be wondering about the best way to pass this on to your beneficiaries. Your primary options are to give them this benefit directly from the IRA itself or to place it inside a trust. Trusts for IRAs are very rare, but that being said, they also have their time and place.
The basics of IRAs can be helpful to understand in this content. In most cases, if you’re married, the beneficiary on your IRA is your spouse. When you pass away, the surviving spouse has the option to transfer the IRA into his or her own name. From that period going forward, the regulations are not much different than what you might have experienced yourself. This includes any impacts from RMD rules. The other option is to treat the account as an inherited IRA. In this scenario, the deceased individual’s name stays on the IRA and the surviving spouse is named as the beneficiary. A big benefit to this strategy is that if the inheriting spouse is less than 59 1/2 years old, then the entire account is exempted from a 10% federal penalty. RMDs, though, begin on the date of birth based on the deceased spouse. If the surviving spouse is under this age threshold and needs access to some of the funds, an inherited IRA may be the best route. He or she can opt to rollover the IRA after meeting this age threshold.
To learn whether or not a trust is right for your estate planning goals, contact an experienced New Jersey attorney to learn more about your options. With many tools and strategies available, it’s a good idea to find the right mix for you.