IRAs are designed primarily as retirement-saving tools, but if you don’t need the funds for retirement, they can provide a tax-advantaged source of wealth for your family. For example, if you name your spouse as beneficiary, your spouse can roll the funds over into his or her own IRA after you die, enabling the funds to continue growing on a tax-deferred basis (tax-free in the case of a Roth IRA).

If you name a child (or someone other than your spouse) as beneficiary, that person will have to begin taking distributions immediately. But if the funds are held in an “inherited IRA,” your beneficiary can stretch the distributions over his or her own life expectancy, maximizing the IRA’s tax benefits.

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Jeff Danen
I am a partner in the Green Bay, WI office of Hawkins Ash CPAs and joined the firm in 1998. I have extensive experience providing tax and audit services to individuals, commercial businesses and credit unions. I also provide business valuation and compilation and review services. I am a member of the firm's Audit and Accounting Committee.

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