Ask Ed Slott: Sharing an IRA Among Heirs

My wife and I have just one grandchild from one of our two sons (with no current plans for a second). The other son and wife are trying but no luck yet. After our passing, we would like our IRA and Roth IRA to be shared by all grandchildren -- probably equally. How can we accomplish this?
You could name your “living grandchildren” as beneficiary at the time of your death, but many financial institutions might not accept that vague beneficiary designation without your grandchildren’s specific names. Moreover, minor grandchildren cannot sign the necessary paperwork to open an inherited IRA, cannot manage the investments, and cannot request the required minimum distributions.
You may instead need to consider naming a trust for your grandchildren as the beneficiary of your IRAs. You should consult with a financial advisor on the best way for this type of asset to pass to a minor.

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Comments (3)
Heirs mostly lose a large percentage of inherited IRAs to unnecessary taxes. Be sure your heirs know how to manage their new IRAs. You must consult your financial advisor about your case, since it is a complicated one.
Posted by KIMMY B | Saturday, January 04 2014 at 1:28PM ET
Provide your bank with the name, Social Security number, date of birth and physical address of the person that you intend to name as a beneficiary. Consult with your broker too. They will guide you to take a right decision.
Posted by STEVE B | Sunday, January 19 2014 at 9:01AM ET
Without any doubt, the question of heirs is always very complicated, with grandchildren not born it's even more difficult. If you want everything to be done properly do take a professional advice from a financial expert, it will help not only you in your decision, but your heirs in future to avoid disputable questions.
Jull from
Posted by Jull S | Tuesday, January 21 2014 at 9:01AM ET
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