Arizona and New Mexico Retirement Asset Planning Lawyers

Some attorneys say you are faced with a choice when planning your estate with retirement plans. Either you make your loved ones the direct beneficiaries of IRAs or 401(k) assets so you don’t trigger income taxes for your beneficiaries, or you make your trust the beneficiary to protect the funds from creditors and predators.

At Morris Hall, PLLC, we tell our clients that if done correctly, you can have it both ways. You can have the protection of a beneficiary trust without creating income tax consequences for your beneficiaries.

Creating Qualified Trusts for IRA and 401(k) Distributions

Every trust we create at MH is a qualified trust. A qualified trust is a trust that is qualified to receive distributions from IRA, 401(k), 403(b), 457 and other retirement plan accounts without creating a taxable event.

There are several advantages to making a qualified trust the beneficiary to retirement assets:

  • Your trust beneficiaries can stretch out distributions over their life expectancies. This can be a huge advantage if your beneficiaries don’t need the money right away. Investment earnings can continue to grow on a tax-deferred, or in the case of a Roth IRA, tax-free, basis.
  • Placing retirement assets in a trust protects those assets from lawsuits, creditors, bankruptcy, ex-spouses and long-term care expenses. By comparison, retirement plan savings outside of the trust may get some protection in some states, but not in others.

Creating a trust for your IRA or 401(k) account does not affect you while you are alive. You will continue to have access to the funds and can do whatever you want with the money. The trust becomes the beneficiary of the retirement accounts when you die.

In order to gain the protections of having the money in a trust without losing the tax advantages of the retirement plan, the trust must be a qualified trust under the Internal Revenue Code regulations. We are one of the few law firms in the southwestern United States that creates qualified trusts. Our lawyers have reviewed thousands of trusts over the years, and have found very few that are qualified to receive distributions from retirement accounts.

For more information about qualified trusts, contact us to arrange a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer at a location near you. Our offices are located in Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque and communities throughout Arizona and New Mexico.


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Morris Hall PLLC, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the southwestern United States, including communities throughout Arizona and New Mexico, such as Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale, Cave Creek, Carefree, Chandler, Prescott, Gilbert, Tempe, Peoria, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Flagstaff, Surprise, Green Valley, Sedona and Santa Fe.

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