Inherited IRAs

An IRA usually cannot be taken by a creditor and does not need to be included in a bankruptcy.   Lawyers say that it is "exempt property."  But there may be an exception in many states.   That exception is if the IRA is inherited after the death of the original owner.    In Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana their is a court decision stating that an inherited IRA is currently exempt.  In Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana there is a court decision stating that inherited IRAs are not exempt...creditors are able to take an inherited IRA to satisfy the new owners debts and it must be included in a bankruptcy filed by the new owner.   For the rest of the country, I have not found reported decisions stating one way or the other...we just do not know.

If your heirs are planning to maintain your IRA after your death (not just spend it) or if you have inherited an IRA you may wish to investigate the possibilities of protecting that IRA from creditors after the original owner dies.

Posted on July 12, 2013 .