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Do I have to leave my IRA to my spouse?

Depending on your situation, you may feel that you and your spouse are financially secure enough that you can leave your IRA assets to someone other than your spouse, like a child or a relative. While it is your right to name a beneficiary, it is important to know that, depending on where you live, you might need to get express permission from your spouse to designate a primary beneficiary.

Luckily for Florida IRA contributors, Florida is not a community property state. For individuals residing in those nine states, a spouse must be named the primary beneficiary of your IRA assets unless they approve the designation of a different primary beneficiary. Approval usually is expressed, written confirmation that the beneficiary is known to and approved of by the spouse. By having this consent in place, your IRA assets can be given to your named beneficiary without contest.

Assuming you and your IRA are in Florida, you may choose any beneficiary you want. Unless they want to disclaim their portion of your IRA assets, the balance is due to them. If for some reason they do disclaim the assets, the balance will then be given to your spouse.

Depending on your specific situation and your desired outcome, you may not want to leave your IRA assets to your spouse. If you have concerns about your estate plan, beneficiaries or retirement accounts, speaking to a trusted estate planning attorney may help. With their advocacy you can have relief knowing all aspects of your estate are covered and all your final wishes will be carried out.

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