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I'm the only beneficiary on mom moms Ira ( not in trust name) I don't want it. My dad and moms trust indicate that all monies go

Dearborn, MI |

To my sister, will this override the beneficiary form I signed resulting in the trust holders wishes that my sister receives the funds?

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Attorney answers 4


You can disclaim an interest in an IRA and it will go the next listed beneficiary, i.e. the contingent beneficiary. If there is no contingent beneficiary, it goes to the Decedent's estate unless the IRA has default beneficiary provisions which may give it to someone other than your sister, i.e. a spouse.

If you have already claimed the IRA or more than 90 days have past, it may be too late to disclaim. If you wanted to give it away after claiming it, you would still be responsible for the tax on the income.

You should talk to an attorney because there can be substantial tax implications to a botched disclaimer.

This answer is intended to provide legal information, not legal advice. Legal advice should be provided by licensed attorney only after full disclosure of all facts. If you desire a no-obligation consultation to obtain legal advice, please contact me at 586-268-4463.


As Mr. Vadar points out, there could be significant tax consequences. If there are no contingent beneficiaries your disclaimer, if timely, will cause a probate and adverse tax consequences from accelerating the time for distributions.

The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.


As my colleagues above noted be mindful of the period for disclaiming the funds may end up going through probate and incurring some tax liability.


Best way to handle is to have Mom simply amend her Designation Form for the IRA account naming your sister as 100% beneficiary and you as contingent in case she were to predecease you. The custodian of the IRA will have a standard Beneficiary Designation Form for your Mother to sign directing this to be her wishes. This avoids any probate issues and disclaimers and no need for lawyers to fix this issue.

My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.

Charles Adam Shultz

Charles Adam Shultz


Assuming mom is living. These are tough, I assumed that mom and dad were dead. Not sure. Thanks for giving the answer making the other assumption.

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