Chicago, IL asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Michigan

Q: am I able to change the beneficiary on a pre-tax IRA after the account holder has passed. My father lived in NC.

my siblings and I are beneficiary of one of my dad's IRAs, we want to make his surviving wife the sole beneficiary. can we do that and have the IRA still be pre-tax.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: It is possible that if all of the decedent's children disclaim that the account would then go to his surviving spouse. But that depends on other factors, including exactly how the beneficiary designation was worded and whether there were contingent beneficiaries after the children. You should inquire with the IRA custodian about what would happen if all of the children filed disclaimers.

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fowlerville, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Ms Whitehurst is correct but she fails to explicitly state YOU as a beneficiary cannot ‘change the beneficiary’ at any time and after death NOone can.

Disclaimers MAY work, as noted, but there will likely be issues so it is important to get real legal advice before acting.

— this answer is offered for information only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please seek local legal representation if you have further questions. I am licensed to practice in Michigan only.

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