Caution: Creditors Are a Threat to Inherited Retirement Accounts

Do you have an IRA or other type of retirement account that you plan to leave to your loved ones? If so, proceed with caution. Inherited retirement accounts do not have asset protection when they pass to your loved ones, according to a 9-0 ruling from the United States Supreme Court in 2014. Creditors can seize the money in retirement accounts to satisfy claims against your beneficiaries.

How Can Inherited Retirement Accounts Be Protected? 

Fortunately, retirement accounts can be protected, but only if you take action. A standalone retirement trust (SRT), a special trust created specifically for retirement assets can protect those accounts. 

A properly drafted SRT can do all of the following:


  • Protect the inherited retirement accounts from creditors, predators, and lawsuits

  • Ensure inherited retirement accounts remain in your family and out of the hands of a child’s spouse or ex-spouse

  • Allow for experienced investment management and oversight of the account funds by a professional trustee

  • Prevent the beneficiary from gambling away the inherited retirement account or spending it all on exotic vacations, expensive jewelry, designer shoes, and fast cars

  • Provide proper planning for a special needs beneficiary to avoid disqualifying the beneficiary from receiving needs-based government benefits

  • Allow you to name minor beneficiaries, such as grandchildren, without the need for court-supervised guardianship

  • Facilitate generation-skipping transfer tax planning to ensure taxes are minimized or even eliminated at each generation of your family 

The Bottom Line

We are here to help you determine the best strategy for protecting your retirement accounts from your beneficiary’s creditors. Schedule an appointment with us today to get started.