Roth IRA As An Estate-Planning Tool
The Roth IRA is not only one of the most significant developments in retirement planning in recent years, but it also can be an important part of your estate planning as well. If you have a traditional IRA, converting it to a Roth IRA can be a wise estate-planning strategy under certain circumstances.
Pay Now So Your Heirs Won't Have To Pay Later
Suppose you have an infant granddaughter and you want to leave her part of your estate. If you don't need the money for your retirement, you can convert all or part of your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA as long as your adjusted gross income for the year is no more than $100,000. You can name a trust for your granddaughter as the Roth IRA beneficiary.
The downside is that you would owe immediate federal income taxes on any accumulated earnings and any tax-deductible contributions made to your traditional IRA. However, if you pay the taxes out of your nonIRA assets, you effectively prepay income taxes for your granddaughter without owing any gift tax or using up any of your $675,000 estate-tax exemption. In addition, by paying the taxes, you are reducing the size of your taxable estate.
A significant benefit of this strategy is that your granddaughter generally will owe no income taxes on any withdrawals although estate taxes may be due on the value of the account she inherits from you.
For as long as you're alive, the Roth IRA will grow tax-free. And, you do not have to start making withdrawals at a particular age, unlike the traditional IRA which requires that you begin withdrawing from the account by April 1 of the year following the year you reach age 701/2.
After You're Gone
When you die, the Roth IRA then becomes subject to the same minimum withdrawal rules as regular IRAs. Your granddaughter must begin making minimum withdrawals based on her life expectancy. If she were still young when you die, she would be required to begin withdrawing only a small amount based on her relatively long life expectancy, with no income tax due. Each year, the fraction she is required to withdraw would grow slightly. However, the rest of the money would continue to grow tax-free and could result in a substantial nest egg over time.
Remember, however, that if the trust has several beneficiaries, distributions must be based on the life expectancy of the oldest.
More After-Tax Money Goes To Your Heirs
The major advantage of this strategy is that you can transfer more after-tax money to your heirs. Because of the power of tax-free compounding, the younger the trust beneficiary, the greater the benefit because of the longer time the nest egg has to grow.
Planning for the future is an important step in ensuring your loved ones' personal and financial security. A #1 Insurance Quotes Life Disability Insurance representative, working in concert with your other professional advisors, can be instrumental in helping you plan for the best possible financial future for your beneficiaries. Please contact us if you have any questions or are in need of planning assistance.