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Changes coming soon

We're working on updates that will reflect changes made by the CARES Act. In the meantime, some of the details on this page may need to change due to the passage of the CARES Act. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was passed into law on March 27, 2020 and includes flexibility for retirement savers including temporary waivers for RMDs, waivers of early withdrawal penalties, and relief for plan sponsors.

Learn more about the CARES Act here

How to inherit an IRA

We know how hard it can be when someone passes away. It's a difficult time, but know that we're here to make the transfer as easy and seamless as possible.

Steps you'll take to inherit an IRA

Here's a general, step-by-step process that shows how inheriting an IRA will work. Find out what you’ll need before you get started.

  1. Let us know about the person who passed away: The first step will be letting us know. That way, we're able to update our records and take some precautions on our end (for example, freezing the account to protect it from unauthorized activity).
  2. Tell us about yourself: We'll ask you for some basic information, like your email address, Social Security number, date of birth, and a few other details.
  3. Begin the transfer process: Different options for inheriting are available, depending on who you are. So we'll start by asking if you’re the spouse or non-spouse.

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Inheriting an IRA as a spouse

Transfer to an IRA in your name: This is the "make it your own" option (also known as "assuming"). What this means is that the IRA will be transferred into your name, and you can contribute or withdraw from it as if it was your IRA all along (for example, you can generally begin penalty-free withdrawals at 59 ½ years old, you must begin taking required minimum distributions at age 72 (age 70½ if you attained age 70½ before 2020) for traditional IRAs, etc.). This option is only available to spouses who have been listed as the sole beneficiary.

Transfer to an Inherited IRA: This is the "withdrawal according to unique IRS rules" option. What happens with this option is the IRA will be transferred into an account titled as an Inherited IRA, and you'll begin taking withdrawals according to a timeline set by the IRS (which differs from the timeframe if you assume). See the IRS withdrawal rules for Inherited IRAs.

Inheriting an IRA as a non-spouse

Your only option is to transfer the IRA into an Inherited IRA in your name. Then you'll begin taking withdrawals according to a timeline set by the IRS. See the IRS withdrawal rules for Inherited IRAs.

  1. Provide a certified death certificate.

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What qualifies as a certified death certificate?

A certified death certificate should:

  • Be the original or a certified copy
  • Be issued by the state's department of health (or similar authority)
  • Bear the raised seal or multicolored stamp of the issuing authority
  • State that the document is a genuine copy
  1. Allow us to make the transfer: Once you submit your request, we'll begin the transfer process.
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Getting started

Tell us a few details about the person who passed away. We'll let you know if you can complete the process online, or if you need to call us.

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