Inherited (Beneficiary) IRA

For investors who've inherited a retirement account:

  • Keep assets tax-deferred
  • Pay taxes generally only upon distribution
  • Use the Inherited IRA Tool for assistance
  • Enjoy fast, easy withdrawals at age 59½ with free cash management features1


talk to a Beneficiary Services Representative


account opening minimums

Why a Beneficiary IRA?

Eligibility information

Generally, anyone who has inherited an IRA or qualified retirement plan

Keep inherited assets tax-deferred

Pay taxes generally only when distributions are taken

No annual IRA fees and no account minimums

Transaction fees, fund expenses, brokerage commissions, and service fees may apply

Access to a wide range of investment choices

Choose from a wide range of stocks, bonds, options, 7,000+ mutual funds, and ETFs

Trade more, pay less

With E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley, you pay $0 commissions for online US-listed stock, ETF, mutual fund, and options trades. Here’s a quick overview of our clear, competitive per-trade pricing.1

Beneficiary IRA FAQs

See all FAQs

  • Must be the beneficiary of an IRA or qualified retirement plan
  • Generally, spouse beneficiaries can roll over assets into an IRA of their own, or a Beneficiary IRA. If funds are rolled into a Beneficiary IRA, a spouse beneficiary may need to begin taking annual required minimum distributions, depending on their age and the age of the original account holder.
  • Generally, non-spouse beneficiaries, trusts, and estates may roll over assets into a Beneficiary IRA. Annual required minimum distributions will need to be taken, or the account closed by the end of the 5th year following the original account holder’s death.
  • Withdrawal options for beneficiaries can be complex. Call the Beneficiary Services team at 1-888-402-0653 for assistance.


A Beneficiary IRA can be opened by completing the Beneficiary IRA Application, and send the application in with a certified or original death certificate to move the funds from the decedent’s account to the new Beneficiary IRA. The online transfer form can be used to initiate the transfer of funds from another firm to E*TRADE.

Learn more about your choices for inherited IRAs.

An individual does not have to withdraw all of the funds immediately. After the assets have been transferred to a Beneficiary IRA, the beneficiary has multiple options. One option is to withdraw a certain amount of money each year, based on life expectancy. An individual has until December 31st of the year following the death of the original IRA owner to start taking distributions. Another option is to forgo annual distributions, but withdraw all funds within five years. Use the Inherited IRA tool to see guidelines for withdrawal and determine the amount of any annual withdrawals.

Learn more about your choices for inherited IRAs.

There are several options available to Inherited IRA beneficiaries. The options depend on whether the beneficiary is a spouse or non-spouse, and how old the original account holder was when they passed away. Use the Inherited IRA tool to help understand the options.

Explore similar accounts

Traditional IRA

You may be eligible to make income tax deductible contributions

Earnings potentially grow tax-deferred until you withdraw them in retirement.

Roth IRA5

Tax-free growth potential retirement investing

Pay no income taxes or tax penalties on qualified distributions if you meet certain requirements.

Core Portfolios

Automated investment management

Get a diversified portfolio that’s monitored and managed for a low annual advisory fee of 0.30% and $500 minimum.d1