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How to Name a Beneficiary for IRAs

Things You'll Need

Instructions

Name a Person as Your Beneficiary for IRAs

1

Name your spouse on a beneficiary designation form to officially qualify her as a designated beneficiary. Using this form can prevent any future tax problems that might arise with disbursement if you do not name a beneficiary. She will also have the option to roll over the IRA into her own name.
2

Name a "nonspouse natural person" as your beneficiary if you are not married yet and want to have a designated beneficiary for your account. This can be anyone to whom you are not married. Nonspouse beneficiaries are not allowed to roll over IRA funds to their own accounts, however.
3

Choose multiple designated beneficiaries, as long as they are all humans. More than likely, these would be multiple children. If you want to leave part of your IRA to a person and part to a charitable organization, this is not considered "designated," because the charity is not a natural person.
4

Create a second IRA to split your distribution between a human being and a nonhuman entity. Put your wishes into writing, so that in the event of your death, a portion of your existing IRA will be used to create a new IRA. The proceeds of that new IRA can be left to a company or charity, and the original IRA's beneficiary will remain the designated human being.

Name a Qualified Trust as Your IRA Beneficiary

1

Create a trust with terms that are valid in your state. Your IRA administrator can help you determine the terms of a legal trust, including beneficiary rules, contribution limits and early withdrawal penalties.
2

Prepare a trust knowing that its terms will be irrevocable both during your lifetime and after your death. If you change the terms, the trust no longer qualifies as a designated beneficiary.
3

Name human beneficiaries of the trust so it will qualify. You have the option of using generic terms such as "spouse" or "children" instead of using proper names. This can be beneficial in the event of a divorce and remarriage.
4

Give a copy of the qualified trust to the trustee of your IRA.

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