IRAs can be bequeathed to heirs who can use the minimum distributions as they wish. However, IRA account holders in Ohio may want to use a trust as a tool to safeguard assets from beneficiaries who may have financial or behavioral issues. According to one financial advisor, a trust should be used by anyone with a sizable IRA if there are doubts about how the heir would handle the money.
Before account holders establish a trust, they should be aware that the beneficiary designations on financial accounts, including IRAs, brokerage accounts and insurance policies, overrule what is dictated in a will. If account holders want their IRA to go to a specific person, they should ensure that person is listed as the beneficiary on the account.
The size of an IRA and the type of person who will be the beneficiary are the primary considerations when deciding whether to use an IRA trust. Sizable IRAs can benefit from the protection a trust provides, and trusts may be ideal for young adults with no financial management experience. An IRA trust will prevent heirs from having immediate access to the money when the account holder dies.
The two basic IRA trusts include a conduit trust and an accumulation trust. With a conduit trust, the distributions flow from the IRA to the trust and then the beneficiary. An accumulation trust receives the distributions and holds them to be given to the beneficiary at a future date.
An attorney who has estate planning experience may assist clients with using trusts to protect assets for their heirs. A spendthrift trust could be another helpful tool for a beneficiary who is financially profligate.