It is important to choose the right beneficiary for your retirement account, but it is also important to protect it.

If you have a lot of money in your retirement accounts and are unlikely to spend it all in your lifetime, leftover funds will go to your beneficiary. What impact will that have upon your estate?

Any funds left over after the account holder passes away, could go to the designated beneficiary on the account. Because this can amount to a lot of money for the beneficiary, it is very important to plan for what that might mean the rest of your estate.

You might want to designate it to someone directly or through a trust, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in “IRA Trusts After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

As with most things in estate planning, the answer for any person depends on individual circumstances. Generally, designating a trust as a beneficiary can allow the ultimate beneficiary to take the money out more slowly, protect the funds from creditors and pay a lower tax rate. However, for that to work, the trusts must be very carefully crafted, since any deviation from IRS rules can result in stiff penalties.

An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and may include a large retirement account.

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