Why you may need to protect an IRA

By Anthony GiorgianniConsumer Reports

If you file for bankruptcy protection, up to about $1.25 million in assets in your IRAs are protected from claims by creditors. But an exception is any IRAs that you’ve inherited, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled. The case involved an inherited IRA worth hundreds of thousand of dollars.

The court's decision doesn't affect residents of Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas, states that specifically protect inherited IRA assets from bankruptcy.

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If you live elsewhere and have an inherited IRA, talk to you financial adviser about how to protect the assets. One option may be to place the money in trust, advises Kenneth Petersen, an investment manager and principal of Monterey Private Wealth, a wealth management firm in Monterey, Calif. If the IRA is inherited from your spouse, he says, another option may be to roll the money from the inherited IRA into your own.

For more information about IRAs and other aspects of retirement, check out our retirement planning guide.

—Anthony Giorgianni

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