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Clarify wishes in IRA forms and your will

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in Small Business Tax

Q. In your recent article on stretch IRAs, you advised readers to designate the IRA beneficiary in their wills. But shouldn’t the beneficiary be named on the IRA document? D.J.R., CPA, Minnetonka, Minn.

A. Yes, the choice should be reflected on both the beneficiary form and the will. If the IRA form can’t be found or isn’t complete (i.e., sufficient contingent beneficiaries haven’t been named), the will takes control. However, if there’s a conflict between the form and the will, the form controls. Tip: The best course is to keep both the IRA form and your will up-to-date. Coordinate the two to avoid any potential confusion.

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