The good news about that is that generally, you will be able to treat that account as a “spousal rollover IRA if inheriting from your spouse. If the owner is not your spouse, you may be able to treat it as an Inherited IRA or “Stretch IRA,” which has some significant tax advantages to you.

The bad news, though, is that if the transfer is not done correctly, you can lose that tax advantage, and you may end up paying income tax on the entire account immediately. Therefore, before taking control of any IRA account (either a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA) or a 401k, 403b, or other “qualified account,” you should consult with an investment professional. He or she can arrange for a “trustee-to-trustee transfer,” which will preserve the tax advantage.

If you have any questions about this or any other inheritance matter, please call one of the experienced estate planning attorneys at Creighton McLean & Shea PLC.