ILNews

Inherited IRA funds not considered ‘retirement funds’

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously held Thursday that funds contained in an inherited individual retirement account do not qualify as “retirement funds” within the meaning of a bankruptcy exemption.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered the opinion for the court, which affirmed the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. She noted three legal characteristics of inherited IRAs led the court to conclude the funds held in such accounts are not objectively set aside for purposes of retirement.

“First, the holder of an inherited IRA may never invest additional money in the account. Inherited IRAs are thus unlike traditional and Roth IRAs, both of which are quintessential ‘retirement funds.” She wrote. “Second, holders of inherited IRAs are required to withdraw money from such accounts, no matter how many years they may be from retirement. … Finally, the holder of an inherited IRA may withdraw the entire balance of the account at any time – and for any purpose – without penalty.”

The decision comes in Clark v. Rameker, 13-299, in which an IRA was inherited by a daughter who later filed for bankruptcy. Heidi Heffron-Clark argued the inherited IRA was still a retirement fund, and therefore, was exempt from creditors under Section 522 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The 7th Circuit held that when an IRA was inherited by someone other than the owner’s spouse, it was no longer exempt from creditor’s claims.

Sotomayor also noted that the possibility that some investors may use their inherited IRAs for retirement purposes does not mean that the inherited IRAs bear the defining legal characteristics of retirement funds.

“Were it any other way, money in an ordinary checking account (or, for that matter, an envelope of $20 bills) would also amount to ‘retirement funds’ because it is possible for an owner to use those funds for retirement,” she wrote.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Contact Lea Shelemey attorney in porter county Indiana. She just helped us win our case...she is awesome...

  2. We won!!!! It was a long expensive battle but we did it. I just wanted people to know it is possible. And if someone can point me I. The right direction to help change the way the courts look as grandparents as only grandparents. The courts assume the parent does what is in the best interest of the child...and the court is wrong. A lot of the time it is spite and vindictiveness that separates grandparents and grandchildren. It should not have been this long and hard and expensive...Something needs to change...

  3. Typo on # of Indiana counties

  4. The Supreme Court is very proud that they are Giving a billion dollar public company from Texas who owns Odyssey a statewide monopoly which consultants have said is not unnecessary but worse they have already cost Hoosiers well over $100 MILLION, costing tens of millions every year and Odyssey is still not connected statewide which is in violation of state law. The Supreme Court is using taxpayer money and Odyssey to compete against a Hoosier company who has the only system in Indiana that is connected statewide and still has 40 of the 82 counties despite the massive spending and unnecessary attacks

  5. Here's a recent resource regarding steps that should be taken for removal from the IN sex offender registry. I haven't found anything as comprehensive as of yet. Hopefully this is helpful - http://www.chjrlaw.com/removal-indiana-sex-offender-registry/

ADVERTISEMENT