Five Reasons to Protect Your Retirement Accounts

Throughout your lifetime, your retirement account offers asset protection, but as soon as you transfer it to a loved one, that protection ends. Creditors have the right to confiscate your retirement account even if your partner, child, or other close relative inherits it. Therefore, if you lose just one lawsuit, all of your hard-earned savings may be lost and your loved ones can end up without money. Thankfully, there is a fix for this issue. You can shield retirement savings from creditors by using a unique trust called a standalone retirement trust (SRT).


It is important to make sure that your intended recipients, like your loved ones, are receiving the benefits from your retirement account. Consider using an SRT to safeguard your retirement assets if any of the following apply to you or your beneficiaries:

  1. Your combined retirement plans are sizable. An SRT can be used to protect loved ones' retirement accounts against creditors.
  2. You worry that your beneficiary won't be very responsible with the money. If you are concerned over how your beneficiary might manage an inheritance, you should think about setting up an SRT since you can control the amount and timing of the distribution.
  3. You worry about lawsuits, divorce, or other potential legal proceedings. A properly written SRT can safeguard the inherited retirement savings from those creditors if your beneficiary is embroiled in litigation, is about to be divorced, about to file for bankruptcy, or is otherwise involved in legal proceedings.
  4. Your beneficiaries receive assistance. It's crucial to be aware that inheriting an individual retirement account could result in the beneficiary losing any needs-based government benefits they may be receiving or be eligible for. It is possible to draft an SRT to prevent disqualification.
  5. You have remarried and have children from a prior marriage. Even if you named your children from a previous marriage as the contingent (backup) beneficiaries on your retirement account, identifying your partner as the primary beneficiary of the retirement account could allow your partner to purposefully (or unintentionally) disinherit your children. You can prevent this by designating your partner as the lifetime beneficiary of an SRT while designating your children from a prior marriage to receive the remaining funds after your spouse passes away.

An SRT is a unique kind of trust created for your beneficiaries to inherit your retirement assets after your passing. Your retirement account assets may be shielded from your beneficiary's creditors. In fact, an SRT can incorporate trust clauses that specifically shield your partner from harm in circumstances like:  

  • Remarriages
  • Divorce
  • Failure of business
  • Bankruptcy
  • Lawsuits resulting from auto accidents, malpractice, or evictions

A Standalone Retirement Trust (SRT) that has been effectively drafted can offer creditor protection and help you plan for the future. If you would like assistance with protecting your retirement account, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2395.