facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
Naming a Minor as Your IRA Beneficiary Thumbnail

Naming a Minor as Your IRA Beneficiary

If you want to leave your IRA to an adult, you simply name that person on the IRA beneficiary form. Unfortunately, when it comes to minors, it is not that easy.

When leaving retirement dollars to minors, you have to make special and informed considerations.


When a minor inherits retirement dollars, the child is not legally able to make financial decisions. A guardian may be needed. Guardians could be named in a parent’s will, and some IRA beneficiary designation forms allow nomination of a guardian. The court can also appoint a guardian, but this can be a long and expensive process.

Another option is to name a custodial account for the minor on the beneficiary form. Custodial accounts established under either the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) or the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA), depending on state law, can be used for this purpose. The IRA owner also names the custodian of the account on the beneficiary form.

For IRA owners with large balances who want more control after death, naming a trust established for the benefit of a minor beneficiary can be a solid strategy. However, the rules for RMDs from inherited IRAs to trust beneficiaries can be complex. The SECURE Act and the proposed regulations maintain the “look-through trust” rules that existed under prior law. If a trust for a minor child of the IRA owner meets these requirements and the child is the beneficiary of a conduit trust, then RMDs can be stretched over the child’s life until age 21 — when the 10-year rule will then apply.

You work a lifetime to build a legacy. When IRA dollars are intended for a minor, proper planning before death — by naming an UGMA or UTMA account and custodian or a trust — can help ensure a safe passage of wealth to a younger generation.

By Sarah Brenner, JD
Director of Retirement Education
Ed Slott and Company, LLC

Copyright © 2023, Ed Slott and Company, LLC Reprinted from The Slott Report, 03/06/23, with permission. https://www.irahelp.com/slottreport/naming-minor-your-ira-beneficiary, Ed Slott and Company, LLC takes no responsibility for the current accuracy of this article. Chris Cordoba, founder of California Retirement Advisors, is a member of Ed Slott's Master Elite IRA Advisor Group.
Investment advisory services offered through Mutual Advisors, LLC DBA California Retirement Advisors, a SEC registered investment adviser. Securities offered through Mutual Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Mutual Securities, Inc. and Mutual Advisors, LLC are affiliated companies. CA Insurance license #0B09076. This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by California Retirement Advisors. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. California Retirement Advisors, nor any of its members, are tax accountants or legal attorneys and do not provide tax or legal advice. For tax or legal advice, you should consult your tax or legal professional.