Spring-cleaning season is right around the corner, and it's time to think about more than just cleaning the house. If you are the owner of an IRA, take time this spring to protect this valuable asset for yourself and your beneficiaries.
"The IRA rules guarantee the stretch option for beneficiaries, but only if they are named and the IRA beneficiary form can be found when it is needed," comments Walter Pardo, President of Wealth Financial Partners Tax Planning, Basking Ridge, New Jersey. (WWW.wealthfinancialpartners.com). "Take time to address this important step because if beneficiary forms are lost or misplaced, beneficiaries may lose the ability to maintain the inherited IRA over their lifetime."
Follow these six tips this spring to give you peace of mind:
. Obtain a copy of the IRA beneficiary form for each IRA.
. Make sure that a primary beneficiary and a secondary (contingent) beneficiary are named for each IRA.
. If there are multiple beneficiaries on one IRA, make sure that each beneficiary's share is clearly identified with a fraction, a percentage or the word "equally" if that is applicable. Also, make sure the beneficiary designation is "per stirpes" unless you specifically want other treatment for contingent beneficiaries.
. Make sure that the financial institution has the beneficiary selections on file and that their records agree with your choices.
. Keep a copy of all IRA beneficiary forms and make sure your financial advisor and attorney have copies.
. Let the beneficiaries know where to locate your IRA beneficiary forms.
. Review the IRA beneficiary forms at least once each year to make sure they are correct and reflect any changes during the year due to new tax laws or major life events such as a death, birth, adoption, marriage, or divorce.
This public service information is provided by Wealth Financial Partners, Basking Ridge, New Jersey.