Dividing an Inherited IRA

If you are among the co-beneficiaries of an IRA, you may want to divide up that inherited account so that each beneficiary can make his own investment decisions and use his life expectancy for minimum required distributions. If so, you must first establish three new "inherited IRAs" with the same or a different IRA provider.

The existing account can be titled, "John Smith, deceased, IRA, payable to A, B, and C as beneficiaries." Each new inherited IRA will be titled "John Smith, deceased, IRA, payable to [Bob Smith] as beneficiary." Then the custodian who holds the existing IRA will transfer an equal amount from the original account into each of the three new accounts.

These transfers must be made directly from the old IRA into the new IRAs. If the custodian of the old IRA distributes funds directly to a nonspouse beneficiary, that beneficiary cannot roll over that distribution into any other IRA (inherited or otherwise). Thus, it is essential that the funds move only by means of direct account-to-account transfer.