What Can We Do About Uncooperative IRA Beneficiary?

 In Retirement Plans
bureaucratic logjams

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My siblings and I inherited an IRA from an aunt in disproportionate amounts. One sibling refuses to set up their own inherited IRA account because they are upset they did not get an equal share. Is there anything that the rest of us can do to collect our share or force him to do something? What if he never sets up an account out of spite. Is there any recourse?


That’s a difficult situation and in many ways less a legal one and more a bureaucratic one with the financial institution where the account is held. You and the other beneficiaries have a right to your shares of the IRA. It’s the financial institution that is creating the requirement that you each set up your own account. I think your best approach is to go up the chain of command at the financial institution to find someone who has more knowledge, power or creativity in terms of finding a solution. Ask to speak with a supervisor or troubleshooter.

We recently had a lot of trouble getting access to some accounts at Fidelity after the owner died. Finally I reached a troubleshooter in their estate settlement department who quickly came up with a creative solution that broke through the logjam. If I hadn’t reached him, we might still be going around in circles many months later.

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