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Brother passed, left IRA. Had trust. Who does the IRA belong to, the trust or siblings?

Avondale, AZ |

My brother passed away and left an IRA and named my father as beneficiary, who is also deceased. My brother established a trust. Who does the IRA belong to, the trust or siblings? Brother had no wife or children.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. On the basis of the facts you have disclosed, most likely the IRA belongs to your father's estate. If he left a will, it would pass under the terms of the will, which may, especially if competent counsel was involved in drafting the trust, require "pouring" all into the trust. If there is no will, the IRA goes to your father's heirs, as determined by the applicable state's laws of intestate succession. For more precise advice, consult with an experienced probate attorney in the county where your father lived.

    Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.


  2. An Ira can be placed in a trust and can name a trust as beneficiary. Unless your brother did this prior to his death, the Ira does not belong to the trust.

    Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


  3. I believe that the IRA beneficiary designation to your father failed because your father did not survive. So, the IRA has no beneficiary (assuming there was no alternate beneficiary). The IRA is in your brother's estate and gets treated according to the will (i am assuming). The will might have a provision for the IRA, but most lawyers don't bother to do that. I'm guessing that the will pours all remaining assets into the trust. Whoever's in charge of the estate and trust needs to see a good probate attorney and financial advisor (about how to transfer the IRA from your brother's name to his estate, then to the trust and then to the beneficiaries).

    Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


  4. I agree with my colleagues. You need to contact the company holding the IRA and inform them of your brother's death AND your father's death and determine whether there is a contingent beneficiary named. If not, then the IRA company will have a policy determining whether the proceeds pass to your brother's estate or father's estate. I have seen it handled both ways.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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