IRAs and The Supreme Court

IRA rolling alongWhen is an individual retirement account not a retirement account? When the Supreme Court says so. In a unanimous decision in June, the Supreme Court ruled that an inherited IRA is no longer a retirement account—noting that a beneficiary can withdraw any amount from the account without penalty whenever he or she wishes—and so isn’t protected from creditors under federal bankruptcy law.

Because of the recent unanimous high court decision, experts and families are taking steps to protect IRA assets for beneficiaries in the event those heirs declare bankruptcy.

A recent Wall Street Journalarticle, "Court Ruling Sparks Rush to Shield IRAs," finds that many advisers are urging clients to create a trust as the IRA’s beneficiary, or to set up an IRA as a trust account while the owner is still alive. Either way, the original owner has access to the money before he or she dies. Depending on the type and terms, trusts can shield assets (including an IRA) against creditors.

According to the original article, the challenge is identifying and employing the right kind of trust—this can be really tough as these issues are complex. The type of trust you should use will depend on a bunch of factors, such as the number of beneficiaries, the tax goals, and asset-protection goals.

But what if I already own an inherited IRA?

Based on where you live and how long you have been living there, the assets might yet fall under bankruptcy protection. Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas all have laws that give this protection in some circumstances, even after the Supreme Court's decision.

One more thing: the Supreme Court did not directly address surviving spouses who inherit an IRA. Their status is far from certain, but some experts suggest that they roll over an inherited IRA into one under their own name.  Talk with your estate planning attorney and see what the new Supreme Court decision on IRAs means for your assets and your plans.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: Wall Street Journal (Oct. 12, 2014) "Court Ruling Sparks Rush to Shield IRAs"


Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment


We have a LOT more where that came from!

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

Call Now ButtonCall Us Now https://jsfiddle.net/7h5246b8/

Request a free consultation

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.