How to Name a Beneficiary of Your IRA

You can designate a charity as the beneficiary of your IRA. When you pass away, the charity will receive those funds. When you die, the charity can show the bank a certified copy of the death certificate, fill out the proper forms, and will be entitled to the IRA funds. Easy!

There’s no need for the charitable organization to go through probate to obtain the funds.

There’s also a Payable-on-Death (or “POD”) that would work if the bank has the proper POD form. A payable-on-death bank account is an easy way to keep money out of probate. All a person must do is properly notify the bank of whom they want to inherit the money in the account or certificate of deposit.

The bank and the named beneficiary simply take care of the administration and circumvent probate court.

The Houston Chronicle’s recent article, “A charity can be named beneficiary of a retirement account,” explains that designating a beneficiary on a retirement account and designating a person as the POD beneficiary, both accomplish the exact same thing.

They are both designed to pass the asset to the beneficiary or beneficiaries you’ve named, after you pass away.

With both of these methods, you’re arranging for one or more people to receive assets you own, without these assets passing under your will. However, with an IRA, the preferred method is to designate one or more beneficiaries on the institution’s own beneficiary designation form. A Payable-on-Death is typically used with a bank account.

After the asset owner dies, the charity will contact the bank and complete the required forms to claim the funds. A death certificate will again be required at that time.

Since the charity was named directly as a beneficiary, it won’t be necessary for it to go through probate to claim the IRA benefits.

It’s also important for the IRA or asset owner to inform the charity that it’s been named. You should also tell the charity to be on the lookout, so it can claim the money when the time comes.

Reference: Houston Chronicle (May 7, 2018) “A charity can be named beneficiary of a retirement account