My friend's uncle manages a Roth IRA for him that is in my friend's name. He has had this account open since my friend was little (obviously before he was earning any income of his own).

I don't know all the details, but I also don't understand how something like this works.

It made me wonder this: if I open a Roth IRA account, is there any way I can transfer it to someone else down the line (and not just withdrawing from it, I mean with all the capital gains and deferred taxes)?

Either by my death, or some other way, can a Roth be transferrable to another individual? Does anyone know a way?

  • 2
    There is something unusual about the premises of this question. An IRA can funded only if the owner has compensation income -- basically, salaries or wages or self-employment income -- (or the owner's spouse has compensation). So, your friend's uncle could not have "opened" a Roth IRA in your friend's name unless your friend had earnings as a child (Yes it can happen even to babies who can be starring in commercials and earning income before they have left the crib). So, what are you not telling us? Feb 10, 2016 at 23:48
  • Thanks for answering! Like I mentioned, I definitely don't have all the info for my friend's particular situation. Maybe he created the fund with gift money from my friend? I will ask him more about it when I see him next. Feb 11, 2016 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


Yes. Dying works great for what you'd like to accomplish. The key point is that you need to specify a beneficiary (or multiple beneficiaries) on the account . When you meet your maker, the beneficiary would have no tax to pay for withdrawals from a Roth IRA. For a regular pre tax IRA, withdrawals are taxed. Either account would have RMDs, required minimum distributions, based on the age of the beneficiary.

Last, your estate might be responsible for estate tax, depending on the state, and gross value. Federal doesn't kick in until over $5M.

The non-dying way - marry a person, and when you get divorced, agree to a QDRO, a judge issued requirement that you give all or a portion of the account to your ex.

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    But, is there another way (than dying), which is what the OP wants to know. Feb 10, 2016 at 23:51
  • Updated for a way to do it without the hassle of dying. Feb 10, 2016 at 23:54

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