How to Transfer a Traditional IRA From One Spouse to Another After Death

The death of a spouse necessitates several financial steps.

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images

In a traditional IRA, the owner must designate at least one beneficiary when the account is opened. A spouse who is a named beneficiary can transfer the assets from the deceased spouse’s IRA to a new account. The actual physical transfer of the funds requires some paperwork. To avoid distribution or taxation on the money, follow the instructions for rolling over the money to a new account.

Step 1

Contact the financial institution it you already have a traditional IRA account and inform a representative that you will be transferring funds from your deceased spouse’s traditional IRA. If you do not already have a traditional IRA, open an account at a financial institution of your choice.

Step 2

Complete the paperwork provided by the financial institution and elect a direct transfer to a traditional IRA in the name of the surviving spouse. Make a copy for your records.

Step 3

Return the paperwork to the financial institution, along with a copy of your spouse’s death certificate.

Step 4

Call the financial institution to confirm that your paperwork has been received and is in order.