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Investing Specialists

Dos and Don'ts for Leaving IRA Assets to Your Loved Ones

Some strategies take maximum advantage of an IRA's tax-savings benefits.

In a previous article, as well as a follow-up column, I waded into the treacherous terrain of inherited IRAs. What happens if a spouse inherits a Roth IRA? What if a nonspouse beneficiary inherits a traditional IRA and the account owner had already begun taking distributions from it? The permutations--and complications--of this topic are seemingly endless, and some scenarios are definitely better than others.

To help reduce headaches for your heirs and make sure your assets are distributed in accordance with your real wishes, it pays to give due attention to your IRAs' beneficiary designations from the get-go.