Protecting Estates.
Protecting Legacies.

Beneficiary Services For Retirement Accounts

A large portion of estates and inheritances today consist of tax-deferred retirement accounts, including IRAs and 401(k)s. Because of this, planning for the tax-conscious distribution of retirement benefits is an essential aspect of estate planning. Unlike most inherited property, retirement accounts are subject to income tax. That is because retirement accounts represent income that has not yet been taxed (except for Roth IRAs). Once the person with the retirement account passes away (the decedent), the beneficiaries of the account generally must pay tax on the amounts they withdraw from the retirement fund. It is important to consult with an experienced estate attorney in San Jose or Danville to develop a plan for the receipt of retirement benefits.

Our estate lawyers at Temmerman, Cilley, Kohlmann & Norcia, LLP, offer advice and representation to beneficiaries inheriting retirement accounts. We represent beneficiaries of retirement accounts throughout California. Our goal is to ensure that the process of collecting the retirement account death benefits is as easy as possible for the designated beneficiary and does not add to the many responsibilities that accompany the passing of a loved one. It is important to avoid unnecessary and costly mistakes to ensure the success of your plan.

How Can Surviving Spouses Obtain Retirement Accounts?

A primary goal for most beneficiaries is to defer income taxes on retirement accounts for as long as possible. The taxation of distributions after the death of the decedent depends on whether the retirement account is a tax-deferred account and whether a spouse is a beneficiary; whether there is another “designated beneficiary,” which may be a trust; whether estates, charities or business entities, which are not considered designated beneficiaries under the law, are named beneficiaries; and whether there are multiple beneficiaries.

If the decedent names his or her spouse as the primary beneficiary, the surviving spouse has the option of rolling over the retirement account into an IRA or a retirement plan. The spouse may then defer withdrawals from the account until age 70½, when all taxpayers must begin to withdraw a required minimum distribution (RMD) annually. Nonspousal beneficiaries may spread distributions over a five-year period or they may open a “beneficiary IRA” and take minimum distributions over a lifetime.

Our retirement services attorneys examine the situation and advise beneficiaries on the best methods to preserve retirement accounts and defer tax consequences given the circumstances. We assist with all aspects of retirement accounts for the benefit of beneficiaries:

  • Retitling and rolling over of accounts for surviving spouses
  • Trust beneficiaries
  • Beneficiary IRAs
  • Multibeneficiary distribution
  • Creditor protection
  • Strategic withdrawal planning

San Jose Attorneys Protecting The Rights And Interests Of Beneficiaries In Retirement Accounts

The experienced San Jose and Danville lawyers of Temmerman, Cilley, Kohlmann & Norcia, LLP., offer advanced estate planning that considers the tax and creditor consequences of retirement accounts for beneficiaries. We also provide beneficiary representation for inherited retirement accounts. Our San Jose estate and Danville attorneys are available to consult with clients at our offices at 2502 Stevens Creek Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95128 and 40 Oak Court Danville, CA 94526 — or at any other convenient location. Call our San Jose or Danville offices at 408-780-1912 or contact Temmerman, Cilley, Kohlmann & Norcia, LLP., online today.