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My mother has died, and she had a number of IRA accounts in her name for which I am a 50% beneficiary. One was a Roth IRA. The Financial Advisor she was using wants to charge me exorbitant fees just to transfer these accounts into my name; I do not trust them and don't want to use them. My questions are:

  1. Can I transfer these accounts to my name on my own, or do I need to use a financial advisor or attorney?
  2. If I can transfer the accounts on my own, what steps do I need to take in order to do so?
  3. How can I avoid any tax implication? As I understand it, if the transfer isn't done perfectly then I might be hit with a large tax bill. But it's unclear to me what needs to be done to avoid this. (The amount is well under the amount for estate taxes in my state; I am in the USA)
  • If your mother had any assets to speak of, you'll likely have to consult an attorney anyway to handle her estate. – BrenBarn Aug 23 '15 at 20:12
  • Thanks @BrenBarn, we have an attorney but she referred me to the aforementioned financial planner for transferring the IRAs... – Josh Aug 23 '15 at 20:13
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    Have you gone back to the attorney and discussed your concerns about the fees? Another possibility is to directly contact the bank where the IRA is held, tell them the account holder has died, and ask them what they would need to transfer the account (e.g., death certificate). It depends on how helpful the bank is, but if they have decent customer service they might be able to tell you what needs to be done. – BrenBarn Aug 23 '15 at 20:23
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    In addition to this question I am also right now drafting emails to the financial advisor and the attorney. – Josh Aug 23 '15 at 20:24
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The normal process -

You open a new IRA at the broker. It's titled "my beloved mom's name, deceased, for benefit of my name, beneficiary."

You produce a copy of death certificate and the broker confirms the account had you listed as beneficiary. They transfer the assets into the bene account.

OR

The account stays in place but is retitled as I note above. If you are a 50% bene, it should be split in two, else there are some complications.

That was "normal." in your case, you go to a new broker and ask their help to get your money. The guy you are leaving should not be charging a high fee to close out the account, $50-$100 tops. I don't like him already.

Once moved, you will have an RMD, required annual distribution, based on your age. A small fraction, with tax due.

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    The annual distribution must begin regardless of whether the account was moved or not. There are extra twists if Mom had begun taking her RMDs and had not taken her RMD for 2015 before passing away, or was supposed to have begun RMDs in 2015 etc – Dilip Sarwate Aug 24 '15 at 0:15
  • There are some specific rules about Inherited IRAs, including the RMD mentioned; the IRS provides some guidelines for beneficiaries. Schwab has a pretty good decision flowchart based on these rules. – brichins Aug 23 '16 at 17:24

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